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8 of 9 MI Republican reps did not respond when asked about stance on family separation at the border

Families Belong Together protest in Columbus, Ohio.
Flickr user Becker1999
Protests against the Trump administration's family separation policy were held nationwide last week.

The Trump administration has adopted a "zero tolerance" policy toward anyone caught crossing the United States border. As a result, in the past six weeks alone, over 2,000 children have been separated from their parents and put in government custody or foster care.

The administration's family separation policy has caused outrage across the political spectrum, but many members of the president's party remain silent on the issue, including eight of the nine Michigan Republican Representatives: Jack Bergman (MI-1), Bill Huizinga (MI-2), John Moolenaar (MI-4), Fred Upton (MI-6), Tim Walberg (MI-7), Mike Bishop (MI-8), Paul Mitchell (MI-10), and Dave Trott (MI-11).

Michigan Radio reached out to the entire state Congressional delegation Friday, asking their opinion on the Trump administration's policy on separating families at the border. Only five members responded before the given deadline of 12:00 p.m. on June 18:

Rep. Justin Amash, MI-3

Referred us to a tweet from May 26:

"When a family seeks asylum, the government shouldn’t forcibly separate a young child from a parent unless absolutely necessary. Such separations are inconsistent with our principles as Americans. Thanks to Bethany for its work in behalf of these children."

Rep. Debbie Dingell, MI-12:

"The stories from the border make me ill. Babies ripped away from their breastfeeding mothers. Fathers driven to suicide. These are not American values. It’s cruel, inhumane, and does nothing make us a safer country.

“This weekend families across America will celebrate Father’s Day. But there’s nothing to celebrate for immigrant parents separated from their children.

“Members of Congress must see first-hand the conditions these children are being held in and the pain inflicted on these families. Our country must end this despicable policy immediately.”

Rep. Brenda Lawrence, MI-14:

“Separating families at the border has no place in our nation’s immigration process. It endangers the mental health of children, traumatizes families already fleeing unimaginable hardship, and is contrary to the legal obligations of the United States to those seeking asylum.

“Family separation causes deep suffering among the entire family, but children stand to be the most impacted. No child should have to face such harsh realities at a young age. This is inhumane, cruel and completely contrary to our American values. Taxpayer dollars should not be used to facilitate this injustice.

“In the absence of capable leadership from the White House, I strongly urge my colleagues in Congress to take a stand and make it clear that the United States will always be a welcoming country for those seeking refuge from violence and other forms of conflict. It is imperative that we reintroduce humanity and compassion back into our immigration system.”

Rep. Sander Levin, MI-9:

"I will continue to stand against inhumane policies against immigrants and refugees. That is why I joined my colleagues in cosponsoring H.Res.927 which condemns the Administration’s blanket policy of separating children from parents if they cross the U.S. border illegally or in search of asylum."

Rep. Dan Kildee, MI-5:

“It is morally repugnant to separate a child from their family—we cannot normalize this inhumane and cruel behavior by the Trump Administration. The President’s actions are tearing families apart, many of whom have already fled violence in their home country. This is not who we are as Americans and we must oppose the Trump Administration’s actions.”

This post was updated at 4:25 p.m.

Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 8 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
Emma is a communications specialist with the digital team at Michigan Radio. She works across all departments at Michigan Radio, with a hand in everything from digital marketing and fundraising to graphic design and website maintenance. She also produces the station's daily newsletter, The Michigan Radio Beat.
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