Jun 21, 2018

What they're saying: Lawmakers sound off on Trump's child separation order

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (L) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photos: Alex Wong, Alex Wroblewski via Getty Images

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday aiming to end his administration's intensely controversial family separation policy.

What they're saying: The policy drew widespread criticism across party lines and from both state and federal lawmakers. And now, most Democrats are still unsatisfied while Republicans seem to be appeased by his order.

Satisfied with the E.O.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): "I am glad the president took this step today. I hope the federal courts consider the decision that limits an administration's ability to keep families together while their immigration status is being determined."
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): "The ink isn't even dry on the new executive order ending separation policy & some Democrats already arguing that keeping families together isn't enough."
  • Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE): "I’ve called on the President to end this new, discretionary policy and I’m committed to working with my colleagues on legislative solutions as well. The administration started changing course today and Congress can pass legislation today — let’s get this done.”
  • Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN): "I am glad the president reversed his position and signed an executive order. We will continue to work toward a long term solution."
  • Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND): "I appreciate that the president has acknowledged what virtually everyone has said from the beginning—that this was a policy started by the administration that they had the ability to reverse or fix at any time."
  • Sen. John Cornyn (R- TX) per Bloomberg's Sahil Kapur: It's a "stopgap" but insufficient. "It's better to have a belt-with-suspenders approach here and actually do it through legislation."
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): "The order appears to be the next step in the Trump administration's larger agenda to eliminate basic protections for asylum seekers."
  • Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA): "It is long overdue for President Trump to amend the most egregious element of his cruel and inhumane policy...But substituting a lesser form of cruelty for a greater form is still cruelty."
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA): "This Executive Order doesn't fix the crisis. Indefinitely detaining children with their families in camps is inhumane and will not make us safe."
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY: "It's a relief that @realDonaldTrump has reversed himself & recognized the cruelty of his policy of separation families...I also hope this represents a turning point & @POTUS will stop blaming others for problems he creates & start fixing them himself. He can start with correcting the problems that this executive order will create."
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT): "Trump's executive order merely replaces one inhumane act with another."
  • Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA): "We're still digging into Trump's EO, but here's what we know right now: If implemented, there will continue to be zero tolerance for all asylum seekers, including domestic violence survivors, a system of locking up children by the thousands & all carried out in our country's name."
  • Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH): "What the president signed today is not a solution as it leaves children indefinitely in detention and is a violation of the law."

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Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.

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The latest: Civil rights groups filed a lawsuit Thursday against President Trump, Attorney General Bill Barr and other federal officials on behalf of Black Lives Matter and other peaceful protesters who were forcibly removed with rubber bullets and chemical irritants before Trump's photo-op at the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church on Monday.