California lawmakers react to administration's 'zero-tolerance' policy

Posted at 3:54 PM, Jun 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-18 19:35:24-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Lawmakers are reacting to the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy that has left thousands of children separated from their families as parents await prosecution. 

Voices seemed to be louder Monday as Democrats held a news conference after touring a detention facility, and the Secretary of Homeland Security went on the defensive at the White House. 

Congressman Duncan Hunter from California's 50th Congressional District released a statement on the administration's zero-tolerance policy: 

“Our nation has laws that are in place and that deserve to be enforced. We owe this to our citizens as well as to our brave men and women enforcing those laws, they need to know they have our support. The amount of individuals with children coming to the border and either entering illegally or presenting themselves at a Port of Entry has increased significantly, more than doubling from previous years. The policy by the prior administration of simply providing a notice to appear and then releasing these individuals into the U.S. for a court date that is three years away is both irresponsible and unsustainable. Additionally, the number of our Border Patrol agents are down, so these agents are trying to handle more with less. For clarification, the policies in place now are the same policies that were in existence with prior administrations. Additionally, most individuals seeking asylum are not being separated from their families. People have legal options for gaining entry into our country and there are consequences to breaking those laws. That said, there are changes in our immigration policy that definitely need to be made and when policies are presented that start with building a border wall, then I am willing to work with any of my colleagues, including Democrats, to resolve the ongoing situation as soon as possible. It is my understanding that President Trump will be addressing the House GOP on this matter, I look forward to hearing more on what he has to say about the situation.”

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Meanwhile, Senator Kamala Harris called on the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, to resign. 

Harris' statement read in part, "Under her watch, our government has committed human rights abuses by breaking up families along the southern border."

RELATED: Nancy Pelosi tours San Diego immigration detention centers, visits border

House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also called out the policy Monday during a news conference with fellow lawmakers. 

Pelosi blamed Republicans for the way the children are being treated saying in part that the ""blame for every mistreated child, heartbroken mother and father and broken family rests squarely on the President, and only he can end the trauma."