Republican Sens. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Monday announced their opposition to migrant families being separated at the border, but both avoided criticizing President Donald Trump or Attorney General Jeff Sessions for their decision to do so, and both used the opportunity to promote legislation that progressive groups said would be a step backward.
Trump or Sessions could immediately end the new policy, but you wouldn’t know it from recent press releases from the Texas senators.
“Cornyn: Families Should be Kept Together at the Border,” read a press release from the senior Texas senator’s office.
But further down in the release, Cornyn said he endorsed the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” prosecution policy, the one thing singularly responsible for the recent spike in migrant family separations at the border.
“The Trump Administration has made a decision to enforce all of our laws by prosecuting adults in criminal court when they’re apprehended crossing our borders illegally,” Cornyn said. “I support that approach.”
Instead, he used the opportunity to promote his HUMANE Act, a 2014 proposal he said he’d reintroduce in light of the separation crisis.
The bill would speed the process for deporting the largely Central American population of migrant children, matching the speed with which the government can currently deport undocumented Mexican and Canadian minors.
“To the greatest extent possible, families presenting at ports of entry or apprehended crossing the border illegally will be kept together while waiting for their court hearings, which will be expedited,” Cornyn said Monday of the legislation.
Cruz, rather than calling on the Trump administration to end its new policy, also used the border crisis to promote his own legislation.
The Cruz bill, according to a press release from his office, would speed up the asylum claims process so that migrant families can be detained together, and possibly quickly deported.
“Legislation to Keep Illegal Immigration Families Together” the Cruz press release read.