The Trump administration is catching heat from both Republicans and Democrats in North Carolina who say the government should not be separating migrant children from their families at the border.
Opposition to the policy has brought together local politicians who otherwise might find little to agree on. Not only has staunch Democratic Representative Alma Adams expressed serious misgivings, but so has the Rev. Mark Harris, a passionate supporter of the president and a Republican contender for North Carolina's ninth congressional district.
"As more has come to light about what is occurring at the border, I have a growing concern with what is happening," Harris said in a statement provided to WFAE. "Children must not be separated from their parents unless there is a real threat to the safety of the children or if the parents are involved in serious criminal behavior."
Other local Republicans who've condemned the policy include North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis and U.S. Reps. Ralph Norman (R-Rock Hill), Ted Budd (R-Davie County), and Patrick McHenry (R-Hickory).
North Carolina Senator Richard Burr did not criticize the policy but said he would be willing to address it through congressional action.
While many politicians are uniform in their opposition to the Trump administration's policy, ideas for possible solutions are far more varied. Here's a look at how each of our local politicians are responding:
Rev. Mark Harris (Republican candidate for NC's 9th Congressional District):
- "As more has come to light about what is occurring at the border, I have a growing concern with what is happening. I believe Congress needs to act quickly to address this situation, that Congress must fix the loopholes laid out yesterday by Secretary Nielson, and any solution must be with the understanding that children belong with their parents. Children must not be separated from their parents unless there is a real threat to the safety of the children or if the parents are involved in serious criminal behavior."
Dan McCready (Democratic candidate for NC's 9th Congressional District)
- "As a young parent, I can't imagine the thought of my children being taken away from me, into the hands of strangers who aren't allowed to comfort my crying toddler. I agree with Laura Bush. We can do better."
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)
- "We should not be separating children migrants from their families. Congress can take action to provide better long-term certainty and consistency on this issue in a way that does not incentivize unauthorized border crossings. Our nation is long-overdue for commonsense immigration reform, particularly when it comes to providing a path to naturalizations for DACA recipients and securing our borders. I believe we can strike the right balance between being compassionate - especially toward children who were brought here through no fault of their own - and also being smart by taking steps needed to prevent future illegal immigration."
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D)
- "The cruel policy of tearing children away from their parents requires a strong response, and I am recalling the three members of the North Carolina National Guard from the border."
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-Hickory)
- "The reports of children being separated from their parents at immigration detention centers are awful to see. I share President Trump's belief that this policy needs to be changed. This week, the house will begin work on legislation that addresses this issue. I'm hopeful that Congress can work in a bipartisan fashion to bring an end to this misguided policy."
Rep. Ted Budd (R-Davie County)
- "I am in no way in favor of separating families at our southern border and will work with my colleagues to find a quick resolution to this matter. To me, the problem we have on our hands is the result of a larger broken immigration system that for far too long has gone unaddressed. In no developed country should you be able to illegally cross a border without any ramifications. But due to the previous administration's amnesty agenda, it has unfortunately incentivized more illegal immigration. That being said, our country's immigration needs real reform, not just a Band-Aid fix. Our recent policies, such as 'catch-and-release,' lack legitimate interior enforcement, and sanctuary cities have incentivized more illegal immigration. Smart policy would do the opposite."
Kathy Manning (Democratic candidate in NC's 13th Congressional District)
- "I couldn't agree with Laura Bush more. As a mom, I’m heartbroken for these children and families. This is the greatest country in the world. I know how complex our immigration system can be, but this is inexcusable. We absolutely can keep our country safe and keep families together at the same time. We must do better than this."
Rep. Alma Adams (D-Charlotte)
- "The people of my district have been vocal in their opposition to President Trump's policy of separating families at the border. Instead of helping those tired, poor and huddled masses who yearn to breathe free, Trump is stripping them of their freedom and tearing families apart. Trump has attempted to deflect responsibility by blaming Democrats for a law that does not exist, and would not find support from me or most of my colleagues. Since this is not a law, but an administration decision, President Trump has it within his power to bring an end to this unjust and inhumane policy."
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-Rock Hill)
- "As a father of 4 and a grandfather of 16, I don't think any children should be taken away from their parents unless they are in danger. While families do need to be kept together, we also need much tougher border security. Although those two issues do not go hand in hand, I believe Congress can find the appropriate solution. This week, the House plans to vote on two immigration bills, one of which will include a provision ending the family separation policy. I plan on supporting both bills."
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.)
- "The president is enforcing a longstanding law that requires adults crossing the border illegally face criminal penalties. The previous Administration ignored the law, and as a result family border crossings increased by 400 percent in President Obama’s last three years in office. The fact is that any changes to current law must be made by Congress. I am open and willing to consider any legislative proposals with bipartisan support that resolve the issue of family separation while securing our border."