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Some Michigan Republican members of Congress criticize Trump's family separation policy

The border crossing at Lukeville, Arizona.
Alan Levine
The border crossing at Lukeville, Ariz.

Some members of Michigan's Republican Congressional delegation have issued strong or tepid statements against the Trump Administration's policy on separating families at the border. 

On Friday, June 15, Michigan Radio reached out to the entire state Congressional delegation, asking for their opinion on the Trump administration's policy on separating families at the border. All four Democrats (Rep. Debbie Dingell, Rep. Dan Kildee, Rep. Sander Levin, Rep. Brenda Lawrence) and Republican Rep. Justin Amash responded before the given deadline of 12:00 p.m. on June 18. You can view their statements here

After we published that story, we began to hear from some Republican members of Congress and found statements they were making elsewhere. They can be found below:

Rep. Fred Upton (statement emailed to Michigan Radio at 3:21 p.m. on June 18): 

“It’s time for this ugly and inhumane practice to end. Now. It’s never acceptable to use kids as bargaining chips in [the] political process. For some time, I’ve said that separating young, innocent children from their parents is the wrong approach. The right approach is legislation to address the root issues.

This week, the House should vote on a bill that would keep families together, give long-term stability to Dreamers, and improve our border security. 

Enough finger pointing. Time for action and solutions.”

Rep. Bill Huizenga (statement emailed to Michigan Radio at 5:49 p.m. on June 18): 

“The United States is a nation of laws, but it is also a nation of compassion. It’s clear the catch and release policy implemented by the previous Administration failed to stem the tide of people entering the country illegally.

While changes in policy are necessary, the notion of automatically separating families runs counter to my values as a father as well as the core values of our nation. We must find a legislative solution that balances our compassion with the fact that some individuals are exploiting loopholes in our immigration system and actively trafficking children across the border.

This week the House is scheduled to address the issue of border integrity, DACA, and family separation. There is an opportunity to have a workable bipartisan solution if we can stop the partisan bickering and actually put our nation first."

Rep. Jack Bergman (Statement emailed to Michigan Radio at 9:51 a.m. on June 20):

"I disagree with the separation of families at the border, as it stands in direct contrast to our American values. The circumstances of our current immigration situation fall directly on the back of the legislative branch. Congress has consistently failed to do the work the American people sent them to accomplish, leaving us at a crossroads as a nation. Politicians and party leadership on both sides of the aisle, for decades, have lacked the political fortitude to work together and achieve true immigration reform. Immigration policy changes must be focused on securing our borders, with the southern border being the number one priority. Since taking office 16 months ago, I’ve worked to coalesce my colleagues on immigration and workforce issues that affect not only the First District of Michigan, but the entire country. The time for action is now.

"President Trump is right – we are a nation of law and order. Therefore, it’s time Congress work without delay to secure our borders, and ensure our immigration laws and policy reflect our nation’s values and rich immigrant heritage."

Rep. John Moolenaar (from Detroit News): “Rep. John Moolenaar wants to secure our borders, and he believes that parents who break the law and enter the country illegally should remain with their children while the judicial system works," spokesman David Russell said. 

Rep. Mike Bishop (from Detroit News): "As a father of three, Rep. Bishop does not want to see children separated from their families," spokeswoman Annalyse Beaver said. "What’s going on right now is a symptom of a larger problem, our broken immigration system — and Rep. Bishop is committed to working with his colleagues to find a solution that will secure the border, close loopholes and protect families."

Rep. Paul Mitchell (from Detroit News): Mitchell said in a statement that he's provided input on immigration legislation to be considered this week in Congress. "As a father, I am troubled by the situation at the border, which serves as another indicator of how broken our current immigration system is," Mitchell said. "I urge my Democrat and Republican colleagues to work constructively to secure our borders, address this issue at the border, and craft immigration laws that can, and will be strongly enforced." 

Mitchell also posted on Facebook on June 16:  “As a father, I believe we should not arbitrarily separate children from their parents, and situations like these are an example of how broken our current immigration system is. It is important to note what is actually happening, the circumstances at play, and that this is not new.

As we continue to strongly enforce our immigration laws, I remain committed to working with President Trump to update our immigration laws to ensure our country and border is secure while maintaining a system that allows people to immigrate legally.

I hope my Democrat and Republican colleagues in Congress work constructively to solve this long standing issue.” 

Rep. Dave Trott (from Facebook): “It is obvious that the immigration system in our country is broken and deeply flawed. Immigration policy changes must be focused on securing our borders, with the southern border being the number one priority. I am encouraged that President Donald J. Trump will sit down with the entire House Republican conference tonight in an effort to develop real solutions to this growing issue.” 

Rep. Tim Walberg: No public statement found. 

This post was updated June 20 at 10:45 a.m. to add Rep. Bergman's statement.

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