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Senate Republicans Move to End Family Separations

But Democrats aren't necessarily on board
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2018 4:50 PM CDT
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined by, from left at rear, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., tells reporters that Republicans talked about...   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – Republicans and Democrats alike have expressed outrage at the thousands of migrant children separated from their parents at the US border, and on Tuesday, Senate Republicans moved to take action. Mitch McConnell said all Republicans back an approach that would legalize keeping families together while detained and awaiting a court decision on their status in the country, and that changes would also be made to expedite the processing of asylum claims, the New York Times reports. McConnell said he was working to get Democrats on board, but Chuck Schumer, the minority leader, quickly shot down that idea. "There are so many obstacles to legislation, and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense," he said, suggesting President Trump should use executive authority to end the controversial practice.

Trump in a Tuesday afternoon speech continued to blame Democrats for causing the issue in the first place and said Republican proposals to add hundreds of new immigration judges in an effort to expedite asylum claims were "crazy," adding that many immigration judges could be corrupt. The president's tweets Tuesday also indicated he is not backing down on his administration's "zero tolerance" policy of prosecuting every illegal border crosser, which has led to the family separations. Meanwhile, other Republican senators have decried the situation; multiple lawmakers are working on legislation to keep families together, and Orrin Hatch is asking Senate colleagues to sign a letter asking for a "pause" on the separations until Congress passes legislation, the Hill reports. Sen. Ron Johnson noted that more detention facilities would likely be needed to accommodate families. (Read more US-Mexico border stories.)

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