Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Chris Kleponis - Pool/Getty Images

In the last several days, pressure has mounted at increasing rates on the Trump administration to change its hotly-contested policy of separating children from their parents apprehended at the border.

The big picture: Trump and administration officials have repeatedly refused to accept responsibility for what has quickly become a symbol of his crackdown on illegal immigration, blaming Democrats and Congress instead. But change is being demanded across party lines, from state and federal legislators who are using their power to reverse the widely condemned policy.

The letters
  • 12 Republican senators, led by Orrin Hatch (Utah), sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday, stating that they "cannot support implementations of a policy that results in the categorical forced separation of minor children from their parents." They also asked Sessions to work with the administration to stop the separation of families while Congress works out a solution that “enables faster processing of individuals who enter our country illegally.”
  • Democratic Sen. Ed Markey (Mass.) wrote a letter to Gene Dodaro, head of the U.S. Government Accountability Office and Comptroller General of the U.S., asking for a ruling on whether the separation policy is subject to the Congressional Review Act. If it is, Markey says Senate Democrats can "force a vote to end this policy ... and pass it with a simple majority."
The legislation
  • Republican Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) is introducing legislation this week, called the "Protect Kids and Parents Act," which would forbid the separation of families unless there's aggravated criminal activity or potential harm for the child.
  • Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) has introduced bill, titled the "Keep Families Together Act" that has the support of every single Senate Democrat. The bill would outlaw the separation of children from their families except for in very specific cases, including instances of suspected trafficking or family abuse.
  • Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (N.C.) introduced a bill on Tuesday that aims to keep families together, per The Hill, but would also make it harder to seek asylum in the U.S.
State-level retaliation
  • Multiple governors — at least three Republicans and five Democrats — have said that they won't send, or will recall, state resources and their National Guards to the border.
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday that the state intends to sue the Trump administration "for violating the Constitutional rights of immigrant children and their families."

Be smart: West Wing sources told Axios' Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan that Trump has shown little indication that he'll climb down from the zero-tolerance border policy.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.