National Politics

Trump could end policy of separating children 'with a phone call,' SC's Graham says

Border Patrol releases video showing detainees in cages inside a detention center in Texas

The U.S. Border Patrol released video of a brief tour they gave reporters inside a detention facility in McAllen, Texas, where it holds families arrested at the southern U.S. border. The video shows adult and children housed in cages.
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The U.S. Border Patrol released video of a brief tour they gave reporters inside a detention facility in McAllen, Texas, where it holds families arrested at the southern U.S. border. The video shows adult and children housed in cages.

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham joined the ranks of Republicans speaking out against the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy, which separates children of illegal immigrants from their parents at the border.

In an interview Friday with CNN's Kate Bolduan, Graham said President Donald Trump could stop the policy — which has sparked public outrage — with a simple call.

"President Trump could stop this policy with a phone call," The Palmetto State politician said on CNN. "I'll go tell him: If you don't like families being separated, you can tell DHS, 'Stop doing it.' "

The Trump administration claimed the policy serves as a deterrent for immigrant families looking to illegally cross the border. U.S. officials criminally charge the parents for being in the country illegally, and while they await their trial, their children are taken to a separate facility.

Graham agreed the policy would make parents "less likely to bring their kids to America if they get separated."

"I'm real sure about that," Graham said during the interview.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the policy Monday while five First Ladies — including Melania Trump — criticized the initiative.

Trump himself has blamed the Democrats for the policy that some are calling cruel, saying that his administration is just upholding the law. There is no such law on the books.

The zero-tolerance policy was enacted in May.

President Trump continued his assertion that Democrats are to blame for children being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. He said that changes to immigration laws could be made quickly if they were willing to negotiate with him.

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