House candidates divided on Trump’s immigration policies
June 28, 2018
In recent weeks President Trump's zero-tolerance policy on immigration has sparked a mass debate in the U.S. over the morality of separating young children from their parents after crossing the border illegally. Despite an executive order signed by Trump on June 20 that put an end to the separation of immigrant families at the border, questions still remain about the 2,342 children that are still in custody and if they will be reunited with their families.
"While our country faces real security challenges, it is not only heartless but fiscally irresponsible to spend three times as much locking children away from their parents rather than investing in real security solutions," said Jessica Morse, Democratic Candidate for California's 4th District.
According to a Department of Health and Human Services official it costs $775 per person per night to house the children who have crossed the border illegally. Alternatively the cost per person to house families together is $298 according to an agency estimate from 2014.
Prior to the executive order, parents would be separated from their children, taken into federal custody and referred for prosecution, while children were sent to U.S. Health and Human Services Department and placed with sponsors, in shelters or foster homes.
"So we're keeping families together, and this will solve that problem," Trump said on June 20 upon signing the order. "At the same time, we are keeping a very powerful border, and it continues to be a zero tolerance. We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally."
"There is a simple protection from being separated from one's family: don't break the law," said Morse's opponent and House incumbent, Republican Tom McClintock in a released statement. "Family separation is not the President's fault for arresting and prosecuting lawbreakers. It is the lawbreakers' fault for breaking the laws in the first place," the statement read.
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In a released statement Morse claimed McClintock had failed to offer a solution to "this very real crisis" and pledged to support legislation that "strengthens border protections and addresses the crisis humanely."
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Monday that the administration is suspending referrals for prosecution for adults who have crossed the border illegally stating the suspension is only temporary as the government is running out of resources.
Meanwhile it was reported this week that California, along with 16 other states, is suing the Trump administration over its policy of separating immigrant families at the border, demanding that the administration reunite the families.
Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2652.