LOGAN – Thousands of children are waiting inside U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities near the country’s southern border after the Trump administration announced its “zero tolerance” policy against people entering the U.S. illegally.
The children, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, are being held in a series of metal cages and different locations along the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the “zero tolerance” plan in April. Any adult crossing of the border outside a legal entry point would be prosecuted, according to the Associated Press. The plan has since resulted in more than 2,300 children being separated from detained adults facing prosecution.
Danny Beus, chairman of the Cache County Democrats, said it’s immoral and cruel, and believes the state’s leaders aren’t doing enough to help.
“People need to call their representatives,” he said. “Our representatives in Utah have been silent on the issue. They are not coming out when Utah believes in keeping families together. The majority of Utahns believe in immigration reform that keeps families together. Our representatives are not leading in this.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has made its position on the issue clear, calling for national leaders to make “rational, compassionate solutions.” The church stated that separating children from their parents is harmful and troubling.
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long expressed its position that immigration reform should strengthen families and keep them together. The forced separation of children from their parents now occurring at the U.S.-Mexico border is harmful to families, especially to young children. We are deeply troubled by the aggressive and insensitive treatment of these families. While we recognize the right of all nations to enforce their laws and secure their borders, we encourage our national leaders to take swift action to correct this situation and seek for rational, compassionate solutions.”
Republican Rep. Mia Love has perhaps been the most outspoken of the state’s representatives in Congress. The Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday that Love said the policy “doesn’t make sense.”
“If they’re seeking asylum, there’s no reason these people should be separated from their family,” she said. “It does not make any sense and it’s absolutely heartbreaking.”
Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch said he is working on a legislative fix, according to the Tribune. Republican Rep. Chris Stewart tweeted that the new policy is not the answer and that he is working toward a bipartisan solution that will keep families together.
The policy of catch-and-release was not the answer. This administration’s policy of zero-tolerance certainly is not the answer. In the coming days, I will be working toward a bipartisan solution that keeps families together.
— Rep. Chris Stewart (@RepChrisStewart) June 18, 2018