WHAT'S HAPPENING: Trump to discuss border amid outrage

WHAT'S HAPPENING: Trump to discuss border amid outrage Photo: AP

June 19, 2018 05:51 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — President Donald Trump's immigration policies have come under intense scrutiny because of the forced separation of more than 2,300 migrant children from their parents. Democrats and some Republicans are urging an end to the practice at the U.S.-Mexico border. A look at the latest developments:

REPUBLICANS SEARCH FOR SOLUTION

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Republicans on Capitol Hill anxiously searched Tuesday for a way to end the policy, with the focus shifting to a new plan to keep children in detention longer than now permitted — but with their parents.

GOP House leaders, increasingly fearful of voter reaction in November, were to meet Tuesday evening with Trump to try to work out some resolution.

Leaders in both the House and Senate are struggling to shield the party's lawmakers from the public outcry over images of children taken from migrant parents and held in cages at the border. But they are running up against Trump's shifting views and his worries that, according to one adviser, the lack of progress toward his signature border wall makes him look "soft."

Many lawmakers say he could simply reverse the administration's "zero tolerance" policy and keep families together. But some worry he could also reject emerging GOP proposals and potentially exacerbate an already tough situation as his party heads toward a difficult midterm election.

BUSINESS LEADERS BLAST POLICY

Some business leaders condemned the administration's policy, but it was unclear what impact — if any — they will have.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was donating money to groups that help immigrant families get legal advice and translation services at the border. He asked others to do the same.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted that the stories and images about family separation were "gut-wrenching." In an interview with The Irish Times, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the policy is "inhumane" and needs to stop. And in a joint statement, the three founders of Airbnb said separating kids from their families is "heartless, cruel, immoral and counter to the American values of belonging."

Conservative-leaning business lobbying groups also weighed in. The Business Roundtable, which represents the CEOs of Walmart, General Motors, Boeing, JPMorgan Chase, Mastercard and others, urged an immediate end to the policy. So did the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 3 million small and large businesses.

CELEBRITIES PLEAD FOR END TO SEPARATIONS

Country music icon Willie Nelson has extended an offer to meet Trump at one of the detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border to better understand what's happening, the latest attempt by a celebrity hoping to end the administration's policy of separating families at border crossings.

Ellen DeGeneres tweeted a link to groups fighting the policy. Kate Walsh has pleaded with critics to call their senators and demand a change.

The home page for "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" has included online links for anyone wanting to help to such organizations as Kids In Need Of Defense and Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services.

Stars like Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Alyssa Milano, Mark Hamill, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Judd Apatow, Kumail Nanjiani, Piper Perabo and Common have denounced the policy. Oprah Winfrey wrote to her 42.7 million followers: "Babies torn from their parents. Can't stand it!"

ATTORNEYS GENERAL DENOUNCE SPLITTING OF FAMILIES

A coalition of Democratic attorneys general demanded Tuesday that the administration end the policy.

Led by New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, 21 top state prosecutors from California to Massachusetts sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Tuesday, calling the policy inhumane and draconian.

The letter raises concerns about the violation of children's rights and constitutional principles of due process and equal protection.

The Justice Department "is ignoring its legal and moral obligation for the sake of a political agenda at the expense of children and the efforts of state law enforcement officials combating crimes like human trafficking, drug trafficking and gang violence which operate across international borders," Balderas said in a statement.

MOTHER DESCRIBES SEPARATION FROM 8-YEAR-OLD SON

A Salvadoran mother says she hasn't spoken to her 8-year-old son in a month, since immigration officials separated them after they crossed the U.S.-Mexico border to seek asylum.

Blanca Orantes-Lopez is being detained at a federal prison south of Seattle while she pursues her asylum claim. She doesn't know when she'll see her son again. He's being kept nearly across the country in upstate New York.

She told her story to The Associated Press in a phone interview from the prison. It's emblematic of about 2,000 other cases in which President Donald Trump's administration has separated children from their parents amid a crackdown on illegal immigration.

She says that when officials took her son away, he cried, "Don't leave me, Mom."

___

See AP's complete coverage of the debate over the Trump administration's policy of family separation at the border: https://apnews.com/tag/Immigration .

Credits

By The Associated Press

(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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