Utah politicians slam policy separating children from immigrant families

Children hold signs during a demonstration in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in Miramar, Fla., June 1, 2018. The Trump administration's move to separate immigrant parents from their children on the U.S.-Mexico border has turned into a full-blown crisis in recent weeks, drawing denunciation from the United Nations, Roman Catholic bishops and countless humanitarian groups. | Associated Press file photo by Wilfredo Lee, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Utah politicians are seeking solutions and standing up against the Trump administration’s policy that separates children from immigrant families.

In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, people who’ve been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, rest in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas, June 17, 2018 | Photo courtesy of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Rio Grande Valley Sector via Associated Press, St. George News

The firestorm of criticism from both sides of the aisle about the separation policy included Rep. Chris Stewart and Sen. Orrin Hatch, as well as former first lady Laura Bush.

In a statement Monday, Hatch said a policy that separates children from their families is wrong, and in a tweet Monday, Stewart said “this administration’s policy of zero-tolerance certainly is not the answer.” In addition, Rep. Mia Love said “the administration should change its policy immediately.”

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox also tweeted that he “couldn’t agree more” with Bush’s disapproval of the policy in a column Sunday in The Washington Post, where she said the “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.”

“I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel,” Bush wrote. “It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”

Read more: Hundreds of children wait in Border Patrol facility in Texas

The criticism comes after nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new “zero-tolerance” policy that refers all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution. U.S. protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.

Donald Trump doubled down Monday on falsely blaming Democrats for the policy, and told reporters at the White House that “the United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility — not on my watch.”

“If the Democrats are serious, they’ll come together again and try to close these loopholes and get real immigration reform,” Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said Monday.

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch at the Washington County GOP Lincoln Day Breakfast, St. George, Utah, Feb. 17, 2018 | File photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Former Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci said Monday on CNN that it “doesn’t feel right” for the Trump administration to blame Democrats and use the issue as a way of pressuring Democrats into negotiating on a Republican immigration bill.

Despite who’s to blame about the policy, Hatch, Stewart and Love said they are working to provide a bipartisan solution in Congress to keep families together.

“I am working with colleagues in both houses on a path forward that recognizes the need for compassion for children and families without incentivizing illegal border crossings,” Hatch said. “That solution can and should be bipartisan.”

Trump plans to meet with House Republicans on Tuesday to discuss pending immigration legislation. The House is expected to vote this week on a bill pushed by conservatives that may not have enough support to pass, and a compromise measure with key proposals supported by the president. The White House has said Trump would sign either one.

Both House proposals face opposition from Democrats, and even if a bill does pass, it will still need to pass the closely-divided Senate.

Read more: In 11th hour, House GOP leaders say they’ll try crafting immigration deal to defuse party division

Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, said Republicans would face steep consequences for pushing the compromise bill because it provides a path to citizenship for young “Dreamers” brought to the country illegally as children. That effort risks alienating Trump’s political base and could lead to election losses in November, when Republicans hope to preserve their congressional majorities, Bannon said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter:  @STGnews | @SpencerRicks

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.



Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • Pheo June 18, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Trump could stop this with a phone call. He lies about Democrats being responsible because such tactics usually work with his base. Thank goodness our own representatives haven’t fallen for it.

    In reality, Trump is blaming Democrats for forcing him to be evil because they won’t cave to his ridiculous demands to fund the border wall. Child abuse should not be used as a bargaining chip.

    • John June 18, 2018 at 7:43 pm

      Research it for yourself! Bill Clinton enacted the Flores Consent Decree in 1997 that separates kids from their parents when they get caught crossing the border illegally!

      • Chris June 18, 2018 at 8:48 pm

        Neither you nor mesaman researched the Flores Consent Decree at all, it seems. Bill Clinton did not “enact” the decree. It was a settlement of a federal court case, Flores v. Reno, in 1997. The decree does not, despite the claims of John and other uninformed idiots, mandate the separation of families at the border. It simply requires that unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border not be held for longer than 20 days. A later court case, in 2016, interpreted the decree to apply to both accompanied and unaccompanied minors. The decree is simply being used by Trump as an excuse for the disgraceful separation of families.

      • jaybird June 18, 2018 at 8:49 pm

        NOT SEPARATING K8DS FROM PARENTS. That is the real crime here.

    • mesaman June 18, 2018 at 8:22 pm

      Don’t you just hate it when someone comes up with facts, Pheo? In reality it’s difficult to accept your allegations and opinions. Thanks, John.

      • bikeandfish June 18, 2018 at 9:06 pm

        Can you provide a source for the alleged fact that the John is claiming? Because I haven’t seen any facts presented by John. The facts I have seen are inconsistent with John’s lies. The facts show that Sessions and Trump chose to use their executive discretion to enforce the law with a zero tolerance policy. That means they chose a new policy of criminally prosecute the majority of the central Americans crossing the border illegally. And that is where there is law regarding family separation, ie when the Executive Branch chooses to prosecute, not before.

        Before now most Presidents chose to force these individuals through an expedited immigration hearing and then release those who didn’t qualify for asylum back to their home countries (a decision rife with issues itself). That process did not require family separation.

        John is wrong and misinformed about the basics of law and recent history.

  • No Filter June 18, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    Let’s put Sessions and Trump in these camps to change diapers and console the children, then maybe they can see what kind of monsters they have become!

    • John June 18, 2018 at 6:59 pm

      PUTZ, there are no children being separated from “LEGAL” immigrant families. Only criminal from “ILLEGAL” trespassers.

    • John June 18, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      Research it for yourself! Bill Clinton enacted the Flores Consent Decree in 1997 that separates kids from their parents when they get caught crossing the border illegally!

      • bikeandfish June 18, 2018 at 8:25 pm

        Flores does not require the separation of children from parents. Also, the “Flores Consent Decree” is a reference to a legal case, not executive policy. The District Court in the case approved of the decree, which still has nothing to do with requiring family separation.

        • Chris June 18, 2018 at 9:00 pm

          you are correct, and John is hopelessly confused. The separation of families at the border is a policy created by Trump. The Flores decree requires no such action despite what the Trump chumps are trying to make us believe.

          • John June 18, 2018 at 9:46 pm

            and your’e a liberal…so what?

          • No Filter June 19, 2018 at 8:14 am

            Based on Johns comment, you can tell he is a loss for words. Facts are so hard to swallow for the right.

        • John June 18, 2018 at 9:49 pm

          The problem of child separation at the border stems from the decision of illegal immigrants to enter the U.S. illegally, for economic reasons, with their kids and then seek asylum.

          They seek asylum to extend their stay, knowing that U.S. law — something called the Flores Consent Decree — says that unaccompanied children can be held by the government for only 20 days. Since asylum petitions take more than 20 days to process, the government must either release the adults and children together into the country pending the ajudication of the asylum claim or hold the adults and release the children, thereby separating them.

          If the adult illegal immigrant is released while the claim is pending, it’s extremely unlikely that the government will find him or her again. Thus, releasing the adult is tantamount to allowing the illegal immigrant to live in the U.S. regardless of the merits of the case. The Trump administration is right to reject this outcome.

          How to avoid family separation without enabling illegal immigration? Would-be immigrants could avoid it by not entering the U.S. illegally with their kids. They could also avoid it by not seeking asylum when, in reality, they are coming here to improve their economic lot.

          What about people with legitimate asylum claims? They should make their claim in the first country where they feel safe, e.g., Mexico if they are coming from south of there. If some reason they are threatened everywhere but the U.S., they should show up at a port of entry and make their claim there rather than crossing the border illegally.

          Congress could also fix the problem, says Lowry. It could change the rules so the Flores consent decree will no longer apply and it can appropriate more money for family shelters at the border.

          This is what the Trump administration has called for, but Congress doesn’t seem interested. From the Democrats’ perspective, I suppose it’s better to keep the family separation issue alive. It’s win-win for the Dems. Either illegal immigrants get to take advantage of the seeking asylum loophole or the Dems get to rip the president for being “inhumane.”

          • bikeandfish June 18, 2018 at 10:45 pm

            I see you are watonly plagarizing again, John.

            Your plagarized material misapplies the “Flores Consent Decree”. Its a legal settlement based on other laws, not actual law. Nor does it define anything in immigration policy beyond the parameters of processing minors. There is no mention of family separation. Family separation comes into play because of the recent zero tolerance policy as federal prosecution requires said option.

            Trump wants to influence the “Flores Consent Decree” because of the limitations it puts on him regarding treatment of minors. He is set on “zero tolerance” and owns the repercussions.

  • comments June 18, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    They’re sad because of all that cheap labor they’ll lose out on if they deport these illegals. LDS is sad because of all the 10% payouts they’ll lose from new illegal converts. LDS has many many many wards that are exclusively spanish-speaking wards. These are composed of illegal aliens and their mostly-legal children. How do my fellow LDS’ers feel about our wonderful church coddling illegals? They’ve been flooding into this country for far too long. It’s time to clamp down. I don’t see the solution being to let them flood in and make US cities even more dumpy with hoards more illegals on top of what we’ve already got. It sounds bad, but compassion has its limits. I think mine’s been exceeded. I’m simply tired of them–hoards and hoards of them that never seem to stop flowing in.

  • Kilroywashere June 18, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    This is symptomatic of a broken immigration system. The root cause is a failure to address the issue for the last 4 decades. Dreamers, Children at the border separated from parents, as well as a system that holds no accountability to the law are a logical outcome of non Congressional collaboration. The can has been kicked down the road so many times. THE SIGN READS come to this country illegally, no problem – jobs, welfare, free medical, free legal, await you upon arrival. The system is so broken and the costs are so tremendous, especially the opportunity costs that are often ignored, that many have lost hope and surrendered to the chaos. There will be many more victims to come if the status quo continues. The level of assimilation under these circumstances is so low, that America is becoming tribal, as the melting pot no longer exists. The reality is our American traditions and culture are being undermined by unabated illegal immigration that is simply out of control. Do we need this much labor when in less than a decade from now robots will be picking the agriculture and doing a wide gamut of jobs, from fast food to housekeeping? What will we do to employ low skilled workers at that point? Will we have massive uprisings, crime, etc ? Who knows? Except NOW is the time to fix the problem, or pretty soon there will be no point of return, and the quality of life in this country will be forfeited for All of us living here now. The 1% & rich politicians will live in their gated communities with private security. Meanwhile homeless camps and crime will skyrocket. It is all ready happening in the urban regions. Good luck, the 70s-90s were a great time to live,in America.

  • asianspa June 18, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    I am so glad the first few comments are taking the bait and are fooled by the lies propagated by both sides. Lets just bring a nice wave if illegals in here, repress wages from the bottom up (that is where wages begin), and pretend that this is all about freedom and human rights while we hand ours away little by little.. . This is about enslaving the working poor and the working class which is turning slowly into the working poor. Even Bernie Sanders with all his stupidity and insanity realized real quick and was quoted in early VOX interviews that illegal immigration was a Koch brothers scheme… he walked away from this statement when it became such a hot button issue during the election. If a socialist knows what this leads to,… maybe it is time the emotional fruit bat liberals, and Bush era rhino crony clowns wake up…

    • bikeandfish June 18, 2018 at 5:57 pm

      So is this the new retort? Illegal immigration is responsible for our stagnant wages in the US? Do share the data and empirical analysis that backs up this wild conjecture.

      • mesaman June 18, 2018 at 8:25 pm

        Empirical analyis? Observed and analyzed by whom? What led you to believe that empiricism carried any more weight than rational, objective opinion.

        • bikeandfish June 18, 2018 at 8:40 pm

          When it comes to quantifiable statements about wages empiricism should clearly win the day. But you are right if you mean ideologues succeed at convincing their base of the opposite.

          And did you just say “objective opinion”? Too funny considering a common definition is “not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.”. There is nothing “objective” about an opinion not supported by facts, which are lacking in the aforementioned post.

        • Chris June 18, 2018 at 8:51 pm

          It’s called the scientific method, doofus. Of course, as a phony scientist, aka social scientist, you wouldn’t know about that, mesaman.

  • jaybird June 18, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Yeah, their illegal for asking for asylum and the government is acting in good faith to rip their children away. What a backward cumshaw to Trumps nazi lean8ngs.

    • John June 18, 2018 at 10:57 pm

      go clean your cage, loser!

      • jaybird June 19, 2018 at 6:54 am

        Last reply. I d9nt talk to toilets.

    • Utahguns June 19, 2018 at 6:29 am

      For the purposes of clarity to the readers:

      The term “Jaybird” from the Urban Dictionary…
      “A Deep South term from the 1960’s and before which means approximately: fool, bastard, jerk, jackass, silly twit, silly billy, doofus, goofball, goof-off, layabout, delinquent, lazy bum, gadabout, joker, popinjay, etc.
      This word is almost always meant as an insult among, and doesn’t carry much wallop.”

      Very appropriate screen name considering the weight and value of his comments.

  • Rafiki June 18, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    “Families can be together forever, through heavenly fathers plan. I only want to be with my own family…..and the lord has shown me how I can, the lord has shown me how I can.

  • John June 18, 2018 at 10:14 pm

    The only reason the separation of children from their parents at the border is an issue is because Russia didn’t work, gun control didn’t work and neither did Stormy Daniels.
    The Democrats need something to distract from their high level crimes and this is just the latest craze!

    • No Filter June 19, 2018 at 8:26 am

      Rant all you want, I’ll just wait until Robert Mueller is finished and grab my popcorn to watch the Trump white house crumble. Whether he goes to jail or not his dreams of becoming a dictator will die a horrible death.

  • utahdiablo June 18, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    Well Hatch you had 40 years to get this done….come here legally or don’t come

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.