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Members of a caravan of Central Americans who spent weeks traveling across Mexico walk from Mexico to the U.S. side of the border to ask authorities for asylum on April 29, 2018 in Tijuana, Baja California Norte, Mexico. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

'Monstrous': GOP Using 'Functionally Kidnapped' Immigrant Children as Hostages to Advance Anti-Immigrant Agenda

By pushing for border wall funding and legal immigration cuts alongside limits to Trump's family separation policy, GOP is showing it is not really against separating immigrant children from their parents

Jake Johnson

In a political maneuver one commentator described as a "monstrous" attempt to "use functionally kidnapped children as literal hostages" to advance an extremist anti-immigrant agenda, House Republicans are circulating a legislative plan that would limit the Trump administration's family separation policy while simultaneously ramming through cuts to legal immigration and adding billions to fund the president's "ridiculous" border wall.

While the GOP proposal was described by the Washington Post as a "solution," the plan would continue the mass and unjust detention of asylum-seeking families while keeping parents and children together in prison facilities—a far-cry from the humane alternatives proposed by rights groups and progressive lawmakers.

As the Huffington Post's Elise Foley pointed out on Thursday, the Trump administration's decision to separate immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border is not required by existing law—as the White House continues to falsely insist, with frequent references to the Christian Bible—but is rather an explicit and unilateral policy change made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"There is no law that requires families to be separated at the border. This is the administration's choice."
—Paula Reid, CBS News

"Family separations are due to the Trump administration's new zero tolerance policy for illegal entry, which necessitates locking up parents separately so they can be criminally prosecuted," Foley explains.

If House Republicans actually wanted to put a stop to the Trump administration's inhumane separation of immigrant families, they could both pressure Sessions to reverse his new policy or advance a standalone, one-sentence bill that ends the Justice Department's "zero tolerance" plan with no strings attached.

But, as Splinter's Clio Chang observed, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his GOP colleagues are refusing to do either, demonstrating clearly that they are "not against separating children from their parents."

In an exchange with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders during a raucous press briefing on Thursday, CBS News reporter Paula Reid—who covers legal affairs and the Trump Justice Department—called out Sanders' false claim that the Trump administration is merely following the law when it rips young children from their mothers' arms.

"There is no law that requires families to be separated at the border," Reid said. "This is the administration's choice."

Watch:


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