The decision by President Donald Trump‘s administration to separate minors from adults accused of trying to enter the U.S. illegally has generated controversy.
Here’s a look at what Florida’s two U.S. senators and the four members of Palm Beach County’s U.S. House delegation are saying about it — as well as a statement from Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who’s running for Senate this year.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D): (From a June 7 letter Nelson and 39 other Senate Democrats sent to Trump) “Your decision to separate children from their parents at the border is cruel, unnecessary, ineffective, and goes against our values as Americans. There is no legitimate reason why these children need to be separated from their parents. … We ask that your Administration rescind this unethical, ineffective, and inhumane policy and instead prioritize approaches that align with our humanitarian American values.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R): “The current situation at the border is the result of a choice between the only two options current law and federal court mandates allow: The Obama administration approach of releasing adults who illegally entered with children, which turned our border into a magnet for illegal immigration and traffickers looking to exploit vulnerable migrants; and the current approach of detaining parents, which divides families – something everyone says they want to avoid. Neither is an acceptable approach. Therefore, Congress must act to legally allow families to be held together pending their hearing, and to provide funding for the creation of family facilities and for expediting the process of adjudicating illegal entry and asylum. While this third option is not perfect, it is far better than incentivizing future illegal immigration or separating children from their parents.”
Rep. Brian Mast, R-Palm City: “It is our duty as an American government to deal compassionately with any child from any nation just as it is the responsibility of foreign families seeking asylum in the U.S. to choose only legal means to enter our nation so they can avoid family disruption. I am confident this process will be improved.”
Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach: “Let’s be clear: the child-separation policy comes directly from President Donald John Trump’s Administration. No matter how he tries to cast blame on others, he started this immoral policy, and he can end it himself. I’ll never understand why Donald Trump looks at a tired, hungry, and frightened child and sees an enemy of the state. But in doubling down on this indefensible policy, the President continues to inflict immeasurable trauma on thousands of children and families. He has really outdone himself this time and unfortunately our entire country will suffer the consequences of this shameful episode for years to come.”
Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach: (From a news conference this morning) “We are outraged…There is a horrific crisis on our border, thousands of migrants seeking asylum from violence, looking to save their children — looking to save their children — coming to America. We’ve seen a lot of ruthless, dangerous actions by the Trump Administration, but this is as bad as it gets. I call it government-inflicted child abuse. The government is cruelly ripping children from the arms of their mothers and fathers who are fleeing violence and horrible conditions.”
Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton: “Hundreds of people have called my office to demand that the inhumane policy of forced separation of parents and children at our border come to an end. I share that outrage, and I agree–this policy must end…And I won’t stop speaking out until this Administration stops ripping kids away from their parents…A nation that is committed to moral integrity doesn’t place children—alone—in detainment centers that are described as jails. A nation that is committed to family values doesn’t go out of its way to rip children from the arms of their parents.”
Gov. Rick Scott (R), candidate for U.S. Senate: “What the country is witnessing right now is the byproduct of the many years of bi-partisan inaction and failure from our federal government. They have failed to secure our borders, which has resulted in this chaos. Let me be clear – I do not favor separating families. Washington is to blame for this by being all talk and no action, and the solution is to secure the border. Anyone seeking to enter our country illegally needs to be sent back, with the exception of those who are truly seeking asylum from an oppressive regime.”