COVINGTON, Ga. — Georgia’s senators are co-sponsors of an immigration reform bill offered in the wake of an outcry about the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that led to separation of children from parents coming into the southern border.
Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue are among more than two dozen senators to sign on to the Keep Families Together and Enforce the Law Act, introduced Wednesday.
President Donald Trump earlier signed an executive order designed to end the practice of separating children from their parents. The order instead would have detention of families together.
“We’re going to have strong — very strong — borders, but we are going to keep the families together,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office as he signed the order.
The bill offered in the Senate would add 225 immigration court judges, allow families to be processed together and require “fair and humane treatment while awaiting immigration processing,” according to Isakson’s office.
“We should not separate children from their parents at the border, and Congress and the administration should work to keep families together whenever possible while enforcing our laws and protecting the border,” Isakson, R-Marietta, said.
“Our porous borders combined with dangerous conditions in other parts of the world have caused an influx of immigrants entering the country illegally. The Keep Families Together and Enforce the Law Act would help us deal with this influx and improve the processing of immigration cases by adding judges and residential centers while also allowing families to stay together.”
Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., introduced the bill.
“President Trump wants to enforce the law and keep families together, and this bill does both,” Perdue, R-Warner Robins, said. “Alternatively, what the Democrats have proposed would incentivize more people to come into our country illegally.
“Now is the time for cooperation from both sides in Congress, so we can successfully send a solution to the president’s desk.”
The House is expected to consider several measures on immigration.
“Congressman (Jody) Hice is actively working with his colleagues to address our nation’s broken immigration system, including the situation on the southern border, in a thoughtful and compassionate manner,” Nadgey Louis-Charles, spokeswoman for Hice, R-Greensboro, said.
Louis-Charles said Hice is co-sponsor of a bill that would require families to be held together as a unit throughout detainment and deportation proceedings.
“The congressman believes that enforcing the rule of law, keeping families together and ending the failed ‘catch and release’ practice are not mutually exclusive concepts and are all goals that can be accomplished,” Louis-Charles said.
She said Hice commended Trump’s executive action on Wednesday and thinks Congress must act to create long-term solutions on the immigration issue.