State Politics

'Children should not be separated from their families.' Idaho senators join Cruz bill

Take an inside look at a Texas undocumented immigrant children’s shelter

The Department of Health and Human Resources takes an inside look at an undocumented immigrant children's shelter in Texas, the largest licensed child care facility in the nation. Note: video has no audio.
Up Next
The Department of Health and Human Resources takes an inside look at an undocumented immigrant children's shelter in Texas, the largest licensed child care facility in the nation. Note: video has no audio.

U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, R-Idaho, are co-sponsoring a bill by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to prevent migrant children from being separated from their parents at the border.

“Children should not be separated from their families and the issue needs to be resolved quickly," Crapo said in a media statement.

Risch "feels very strongly that no family entering the United States legally should ever be separated by the government," said his spokesperson, Kaylin Minton.

"He also believes the issue of family separation needs to be addressed as part of broad immigration reform, because our existing laws are not working. No child should be punished for their parent’s decision."

Cruz, who has been an ally of President Donald Trump, has come out in opposition to Trump's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy.

“We can stop this. The legislation I’m filing this week would prohibit separating families, would mandate that kids should stay with their parents,” Cruz told the Associated Press.

Cruz's bill, called the Protect Kids and Parents Act, also would double the number of federal immigration judges to ensure that asylum cases are heard within two weeks.

“If the claim is not valid, and many of those coming here illegally don’t have valid claims for asylum, then within 14 days that claim should be processed and they should be returned to their home country,” Cruz said. “During that expedited process, we can and should keep families together, keep children with their moms and dads and we need to stand up temporary shelters.”

Cruz's bill is among several proposals trying to quickly address the crisis.

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson, too, is looking for a solution.

"The current system is clearly broken, and the status quo is unacceptable," said Simpson spokesperson Nikki Wallace. "The House is scheduled to vote on two immigration packages this week, and Congressman Simpson hopes that this and many other issues related to our immigration system will be addressed in order to put an end to this crisis."

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador did not respond to a request for comment. Both Simpson and Labrador are also Republicans.

The Boise City Council Tuesday evening called on the four lawmakers to find a solution to the family separations.

"This policy is, to put it bluntly, un-American. It is barbaric," Mayor David Bieter and the council wrote in a letter to the delegation. "... We cannot in good conscience remain silent in the face of the administration's unacceptable policy and its sheer offensiveness to our community's moral and ethical standards, and those of our nation."

Cynthia Sewell is Idaho Statesman's government and investigative reporter. Contact her at (208) 377-6428, csewell@idahostatesman.com or @CynthiaSewell on Twitter.
  Comments