Rep. Hurd: Shouldn't use kids as deterrent policy

Texas Rep. Will Hurd tells CNN's Ana Cabrera that the use of detained children, such as those being separated from their parents at the southern border, as a deterrent policy is "unacceptable."

Posted: Jun 18, 2018 10:32 AM
Updated: Jun 18, 2018 10:34 AM

The Trump administration's immigration "zero tolerance" policy that result in the separation of thousands of children from their families stoked outrage over the weekend, and several prominent Republicans sounded off.

Some called for the administration to end the separations while others renewed their calls for broader immigration reform.

Here's a look at some of the Republicans who have spoken out.

Laura Bush

Former first lady Laura Bush, wife of former GOP President George W. Bush, wrote a Washington Post op-ed published Sunday night comparing the family separations to World War II Japanese-American internment camps, calling the practice "immoral."

"Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso," Bush wrote.

Melania Trump

The first lady, through her spokeswoman, said she "hates to see" the separations, though she did not acknowledge the separations are a result of Trump administration policy and called for "both sides of the aisle" to pass immigration reform.


Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, while defending the administration's efforts to tighten immigration enforcement in a Facebook post Monday, nonetheless called the separation of families "wrong" and wrote "the choice before the American people does not have to be 'wicked versus foolish.'"

"This is wrong. Americans do not take children hostage, period," he wrote.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins called the separations "inconsistent with our American values."

"What the administration has decided to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that if you cross the border with your children, your children are going to be ripped away from you," Collins said on CBS Sunday. "That's traumatizing to the children, who are innocent victims, and it is contrary to our values in this country."

Collins and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar expressing concern and asking several questions about the asylum process and separations.

Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford said on Twitter he disagreed with separating families and linked out to a story about Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine being denied entry in 2014 to a facility where the government was holding unaccompanied children.

"I disagree with the administration's policy of separating families, but we must continue to protect the privacy of the children, many who have experienced trauma. #KeepFamiliesTogether & keep cameras away from these kids. Just like in 2014," he wrote.

Texas Rep. Will Hurd spoke out against the administration's policy and noted to CNN's Ana Cabrera on "Newsroom" that it "is clearly something that the administration can change."

"They don't need legislation to change it," Hurd said.

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told CNN's Kate Bolduan on "At This Hour" Friday that "there is plenty of blame to go around," but acknowledged that Trump could "stop this policy with a phone call."

"If you don't like families being separated, you can go tell DHS stop doing it," Graham said.

Former Republican officials

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said on Twitter that the separations are "not the Christian way, the American way, nor what @POTUS wants."

But he went on say over Twitter that "The President can reverse it, and I hope he does."

Over the weekend, CNN National Security Analyst Michael Hayden, who was nominated by Bush to lead the CIA, tweeted out a photo of the Birkenau death camp at Auschwitz, writing, "Other governments have separated mothers and children."

Hayden, who also was director of the National Security Agency under Presidents Bush and Bill Clinton, explained on CNN's "New Day" Monday morning that his tweet was a warning of where the US could be headed.

"Let's run the clock back to 1933, which is really what I was trying to address," Hayden said. "And in 1933, what did we see in Germany? A cult of personality, a cult of nationalism, a cult of grievance, a press operation that looked like and was the ministry of propaganda and then the punishing of marginalized groups."

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