While Republican senators work on legislation that would keep migrant families together while they are undergoing prosecution for illegal immigration, Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer of New York said that it was up to President Trump to fix the problem.
“There are so many obstacles to legislation and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense,” Schumer told reporters. “Legislation is not the way to go here when it’s so easy for the president to sign it.”
Schumer posted a tweet expressing his views on the matter:
You – and not the law – are responsible for this family separation policy, @realDonaldTrump. GOP Senators and members of your own administration have confirmed this. You could reverse this terrible practice in a few minutes- but you refuse to lift a finger. https://t.co/goVSkJoGVk
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) June 20, 2018
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky had previously announced that he wants to pass a new bill that would keep immigrant families together after they have been detained at the U.S.-Mexico border. “I support, and all of the senators of the Republican conference support, a plan that keeps families together,” McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.
But Schumer quickly dismissed the prospect of a legislative proposal from Republicans to keep immigrant families together. He said that President Trump could fix the problem very easily “with a flick of his pen.”
Through his comments, Schumer made clear that he and other Democrats intend to fully keep the focus on the president and his policies.
“The president can change it with his pen,” Schumer said. “Republicans will try to add additional ‘poison-pill’ provisions to any immigration bill that comes to the Senate floor. Unacceptable additions have bogged down every piece of legislation we’ve done,” he added.
Without legislation to stop what’s going on with families at the border, there will be no end to the continual stream of photos and videos and even audio recordings of the trauma that occurs every time a child is forcefully taken from his or her parents. While Trump is refusing to back down from his “zero tolerance” policy, Schumer’s opposition means there won’t be a quick legislative fix. It’s not clear that Republicans are serious about passing legislation anyway.
Many Democrats in Congress are happy to continue keeping pressure on Trump instead of assuming responsibility for the humanitarian crisis themselves. But some observers believe that Schumer and other Democrats will change their attitudes about attempting to pass legislation if the crisis continues for a long period of time.
When asked about this Schumer responded by saying, “Let’s hope we never get to that. Let’s hope the president does the right thing and solves the problem, which he can do. That’s the simple, easiest and most likely way this will happen.”
Trump and his administration employees have claimed that Congress is responsible for the crisis and must pass legislation in order to stop Trump’s policies. For example, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen incorrectly told reporters “Congress alone can fix it.”
And McConnell is now calling for new legislation to solve the crisis also. “We need to fix the problem and it requires a legislative solution,” he said.
The American people must be confused by these kinds of statements. Since Republicans control the presidency and both houses of Congress, it is unclear why they are blaming Democrats for the border crisis. If Mitch McConnell wants a legislative fix, as Senate Majority Leader, he has the power to get it done.
What’s really going on is that the Republicans are trying to shift the blame for a problem that they created. They are also tying to shift responsibility to Democrats when it is up to them to fix the problem. The majority of the American people will see right through this sham, however, and hold Republicans accountable in November’s midterm elections.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.