Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

U.S. Rep. Yoder urges Sessions to halt separation of families

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions receives the National Sheriffs Association Lifetime Achievement Award before he speaks at their convention in New Orleans Monday U.S. Rep. Yoder urges Sessions to halt separation of families
Gerardo Duncan | 22 June, 2018, 20:00

"We do not want to separate parents from their children", Sessions said in defence of Congress' "zero tolerance" immigration policy.

"U.S. attorneys under both Republican and Democratic administrations have for decades been given discretion to determine how and when to charge misdemeanor illegal entry cases to address the needs of their districts", they added. Those in criminal proceedings are guaranteed a (now severely overworked) public defender, but those in civil immigration courts are not.

The group reminded Sessions, who has cited the Bible to justify the Trump administration's parent-child separation policy at the Southwest border, that he has the discretion to stop it.

In their open letter, the former prosecutors wrote that the law "does not require the systematic separation of families under these circumstances".

In June, Sessions, who is a member of the Methodist Church, defended the Trump administration's practice by quoting biblical scripture, according to the Washington Post.

In an interview Tuesday, Sessions said numerous adults who are bringing children with them are not related.

The president said the Justice Department is now drafting an order to undo separation of migrant families. Parents and children crossing the border together have also been separated from one another.

"Until now, every administration has chosen a path that has balanced the need for effective enforcement and deterrence with humanity and compassion", said the four-page letter to Sessions.

As of Wednesday, June 20, the Trump administration has set up multiple "tender age" shelters to lock infants and young children that the US forcibly removed from their parents at the border.

The policy places adults trying to cross the border into custody, and places children in detention centres.

There are a number of organizations that support migrant parents who have been separated from their children.

Bolstered by President Donald Trump, some Republicans say there's no way that bias against then-candidate Trump found among some employees didn't taint the Clinton probe - and by extension special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Trump's Republican campaign and Russian Federation.

Faith leaders of all persuasions, including the leader of Sessions' own church, have denounced the policy.

The former New York City mayor said firing Sessions, who has recused himself from the Russian Federation probe, would be an "unnecessary distraction" because the attorney general has "no role in the investigation".

The Attorney General said that a loophole was discovered that if people cross the border illegally with children they will not be prosecuted.

The administration's effort has been made more hard as Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen appeared to break with Sessions Monday, saying the policy was not meant to be a deterrent to immigrants contemplating illegal crossings.

And this was not the first time that Sessions has linked the phrase to US sheriffs; he said nearly the same thing February 12 while speaking to the National Sheriffs' Association winter meeting in Washington.

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