Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is joining the growing chorus of Republicans who are denouncing the Trump Administration’s so-called “zero tolerance policy” to separate children from parents who cross the border illegally.
Grassley says the Flores Agreement, approved in 1997, stated children who were part of detained families could legally be separated for up to 20 days. Grassley says, “I want the Flores Agreement repealed so that we don’t have family separation because I don’t think we should have family separation and we don’t need to have.”
Senators Dianne Feinstein and Ted Cruz are offering separate pieces of legislation that address the administration’s policy on dividing families. Grassley isn’t yet ready to commit to backing either of them, but says he’d support a measure that eliminates the Flores Agreement. “These bills will probably do that,” Grassley says. “They might do more than that but what more they do, I don’t think is necessary, but I’ll comment on those when I read them.”
Reports say in the past few weeks, more than two-thousand children have been separated from their parents or guardians at the U.S. border with Mexico. Many are being housed in camps in Texas, including tent cities and one camp that’s inside a former Walmart. Grassley says any legislation that passes also needs to address funding.
“The Department of Justice needs more resources to handle the increased number of people that are in detention, particularly, more judges to speed up the process,” Grassley says, “because justice that’s slow is not necessarily fair.”
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is joining 20 of his counterparts from other states in calling on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security leaders to end what Miller calls the “cruel and illegal actions against children and families lawfully seeking asylum” in the U.S. Miller and the other attorneys general say the practice of separating families is contrary to American values and should be abolished.