BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Numerous Maryland lawmakers have come out against the policy that the Trump administration is now enforcing that separates immigrant children from their parents after crossing the U.S. border.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Tuesday that Maryland will not deploy any National Guard resources to the border until the “policy of separating children from their families has been rescinded.”
He also said Washington “failed” on immigration reform and that “Immigration enforcement efforts should focus on criminals, not separating innocent children from their families.”
Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen toured facilities in southern Texas where children are being held and said the enforcement of the policy is not working.
Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh joined 20 other attorneys general to call on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to “end the cruel and illegal policy of forcibly separating all families that cross the border, including those lawfully seeking asylum in the United States.”
The images of children separated from their parents at the border pushed some lawmakers to their boiling point. While some have described them as cages, Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings referred to the detention centers housing migrant children as something far worse.
“We should be able to agree that we will not keep kids in the child internment camps indefinitely and hidden away from public view. What country is that? This is the United State of America!” Cummings said. “We will not do that! We are better than that! We are so much better,”
Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger and Don Beyer said they’ve learned of two men who are in the country illegally are being detained at a correctional center in Anne Arundel County.
Both men were pulled away from their children and only just now able to contact them. They were reportedly seeking asylum.
“We had these men crying because their children were crying when they took them away,” Ruppersberger said. “We’re standing up and I can tell you this, we will win this because the American people are behind us. It’s just a matter of moving forward.”
Per an agreement between the county and the federal government, the center is used to hold undocumented individuals that could face deportation.
Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh didn’t take a stance on the issue at the border but said they have their own policy helping children who are separated from their parents.
“We deal with those children every day in a humane and caring way,” he said.
Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh also came out against the Trump administration’s handling of thousands of children, citing the famous plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty.
She released the following statement:
“The separation of children from parents who desire only to claim some portion of the American dream has become a nightmare for them and for those of us who know in our hearts that this is not what America is about. There is certainly a better way and one that respects the dignity of these immigrants and honors their aspirations for what they believe our nation might offer them.
“I urge the Administration and all who defend this arbitrary and misguided policy of separating and caging children in makeshift shelters to re-read the words inscribed at the base of our Statue of Liberty: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…’ What we have seen in these past several days is a violation of America’s invitation and promise to all who seek democracy’s shelter, and it must stop.”