Local legislators weigh in on border separation policy


CLEVELAND- U.S. Border policy which has resulted in the separation of thousands of children from parents attempting to illegally enter the United States at the southern border has generated a heated debate and sharp political division even among elected officials within the same party.

Fox 8 News on Tuesday reached out to all of our elected officials in Congress and in the United States Senate asking for their comment on the policy and received responses for all of them.

Among Republicans U.S. Congressman Jim Renacci of Wadsworth, who represents the state's 16th congressional district told Fox 8 in a written statement:

"Protecting both American jobs and our security by securing our borders and fixing our broken immigration system must be a top priority for the federal government, which is why I so strongly support President Trump’s commitment to fixing our immigration laws.

It’s also clear that Congress must swiftly take legislative action to ensure that we can fully enforce America’s immigration laws while also preventing the separation of children from their parents on our border.”

Republican U.S. Senator Rob Portman in a telephone interview backed up his earlier statement saying,  "The administration should change course immediately and use its executive authority to keep families together and expedite their cases."

Democratic Representative Marcia Fudge of Cleveland was travelling back to Washington on Tuesday but released the following statement to Fox 8, " Anyone with a soul can see how separating families and detaining children for weeks in warehouses is inhumane. Making false statements and blaming Democrats is a consistent theme for this administration. No one on either side of the aisle is stopping the president from signing an executive order to end this child abuse."

9th Congressional District Democrat Marcy Kaptur, who met with immigrant families detained in recent Ohio raids on Monday, told Fox 8 in a written statement:

“The Trump Administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border is inhumane and does not make us safer. This policy has more to do with the cynical politics of division than any sensible immigration policy that the American people support. Years of Republican inaction on immigration have brought us to this point. Congressional Republicans need to get off their hands and act on comprehensive reform and more immediately, stop this cruel policy of separation."

“This Administration’s harmful policies, and an arbitrary 400 percent increase in employer enforcement actions have torn apart Ohio families and instilled fear in countless other communities across our Great Lakes Heartland. We should not criminalize people who just want to work.”

Democratic Representative Tim Ryan, whose 13th Congressional District includes parts of Portage and Summit Counties, also spoke with Fox 8 News via Skype.  "I'm just appalled. I think that like most Americans are at this point that the United States with all our power all our prestige is separating kids from their parents who for the most part are trying to make a better life for their kids and not keeping them together and handling the legal process in that way is really appalling and I think we have lost a lot of morale authority, not just for this particular situation but who is going to want to live in a country like this? This is not the best we have to offer here and its disgusting to sit and watch."

Democrat David Joyce, who represents parts of Ashtabula, Lake and Geauga Counties, was also travelling to Washington D.C. on Tuesday, but released a statement to Fox 8 saying:

“I oppose efforts to separate parents from their children. As a father, I believe in family first. I also oppose the policy of catch and release. It is time to find a real, long-term solution to the many issues impacting our broken immigration system.”

Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown followed suit releasing a brief statement that says:

“All children should be treated with compassion. Tearing families apart is wrong and will not fix our broken immigration system.”

President Donald Trump has pointed blame at Democrats who he blames for exploiting loopholes in the law which has lead to the current policy of separating families saying:

"All we need is good legislation and we can have it taken care of and we have to get the democrats to go ahead and work with us."

Senator Brown's office says he has signed on to co-sponsor a bill from Senator Dianne Feinstein of California legislation to keep immigrant families together by preventing the Department of Homeland Security from taking children from their parents at the border.

But Brown's office tells Fox 8 News:  "It’s also important to point out that the Administration does not in fact need legislation to end its policy."

Congressman Ryan says he is also supporting a bill in the House of Representatives with the same intent.

"You can have humanity as you are implementing a policy and you don't need to split families up when you are implementing policy. I'm for border security. I'm for making sure that drugs and terrorists don't get into our country but i'm also for a humane immigration system that the president can't seem to come to grips with you can have both.." said Ryan.