Illinois politicians of both parties are voicing disapproval of the Trump administration's policy of separating illegal immigrant children from their parents at the U.S. border.
But much like the broader national debate on the recently-enforced policy, opinions are divided on how to deal with an issue called "heartbreaking" on both sides of the aisle.
"The news coming from our border is heartbreaking, and further emphasizes the need for comprehensive, bipartisan reforms to our immigration policies. Those who break the law, including entering our country illegally, are subject to arrest, but a recent court ruling determined that in these situations minors may not be detained with the guardians while they are awaiting prosecution," said U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Peoria). "This court ruling is why Congress must act to clarify the law."
LaHood called for a bipartisan solution in Congress to deal with the issue and reunite families. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) also called for a vote on ending the policy at a recent event in Decatur.
The president called for Congress to "change the ridiculous and obsolete laws on immigration" in a Tuesday morning tweet. He also claimed, without evidence, that children are being used by "some of the worst criminals on earth as a means to enter our country." Nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their families at the border since the policy was announced by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) also called the policy "heartbreaking."
"This is heartbreaking. As a mother, I can’t fathom being torn away from my two incredible little girls—it's even worse to think about the pain and fear they would feel if they were ripped from my arms. Imagine if it were your child screaming. We can’t let Trump and his Administration continue this inhumane policy," said Duckworth.
U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Moline) called for President Trump to resolve the separation policy with "a single phone call."
"President Trump is not telling the truth when he says that he's just enforcing the law. This is his policy and he is choosing to do it. President Trump could end this crisis with a single phone call; instead, he's using thousands of children to gain political leverage," said Bustos. "Breaking up families seeking our help is the exact opposite of American values. I call on President Trump to end this cruel, unusual and un-American policy before any more children are permanently damaged by his actions."
“It is hard to believe that the rest of the world will look at this and say, well, that’s how Americans treat people who come asking for help. They take their kids away from them. Family separation is now the policy of this Administration—not family unity. I’m hoping, just hoping, and perhaps some of my Republican colleagues will think this is an outrage as well," said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). "Maybe they’ll step up and speak out. I hope they do. On a bipartisan basis, we should all be standing up for these children who are being separated from their parents.”