WASHINGTON – Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii) reiterated her call June 18 for President Donald Trump to end his policy of separating children from their asylum-seeking parents at the border.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (NBC News)

Trump’s Department of Justice decided to criminally prosecute all asylum seekers — first-time applicants, people who turn themselves in voluntarily, and even those with valid claims. Parents who are prosecuted are held by the U.S. marshals or the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and their children are taken away and managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is reprehensible that the president of the United States is breaking up families to create political leverage for his anti-immigration agenda,” said Hanabusa. “Republicans and Democrats, senators, former First Lady Laura Bush, and the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights are united in their call for the immediate end to this abhorrent, un-American policy.

“Trump’s repeated assertion that Democrats are to blame for his deliberate decision to prosecute all asylum-seeking families at the border for illegal entry is the latest lie being peddled by his administration. Trump’s policy violates asylum laws and the constitutional rights of parents.

“My colleagues in the House are preparing companion legislation to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill to immediately block family separations and I am a co-sponsor. Unfortunately, I understand that my Republican colleagues are planning to initiate an immigration debate this week and introduce legislation that does not address family separation.

“I am committed to working in bipartisan fashion to restore decency and humanity to our policy making process.”

On June 7, Hanabusa joined her colleagues in sending a letter to the chair and ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Homeland Security, Committee on Appropriations, urging members to limit the Department of Homeland Security’s ability “to use appropriated funds to separate parents from their children absent evidence that the parent poses an immediate threat to the child’s safety. Instead, we ask that you include robust funding for community-based alternatives to detention, such as the Family Case Management Program.”

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) tweeted, “The Trump admin’s new policy of separating immigrant children from their families is reprehensible … Congress must take action to keep families together and provide children with legal counsel by passing my Fair Day in Court for Kids Act.”

Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) tweeted, “As the son of Japanese Americans who were interned during WWII, I’m appalled by the administration’s horrifying actions towards people seeking asylum. Innocent children should not be separated from their parents. The law does not require this cruelty.”

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) tweeted, “The Trump Administration’s inhumane policy of separating children from their parents at the border is fundamentally cruel. We must #KeepFamiliesTogether.”

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