Gardner among GOP senators calling for end to forced separations at border

Author: Erin Prater - June 19, 2018 - Updated: June 19, 2018

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (AP Images)

Colorado’s U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner joined 11 Republican colleagues Tuesday in sending a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling on the Trump administration to halt the forced separation of minor children from parents illegally entering the country.

The group asked that Congress be allowed to work out “a solution that enables faster processing of individuals who enter our country illegally.”

“We have read with increasing alarm reports of children being separated from their parents at the southern border,” the senators wrote. “Although enforcing our immigration laws is an essential responsibility of the federal government, it must be done in a way that is consistent with our values and ordinary human decency.”

> RELATED: Hickenlooper: Separating immigrant families is ‘immoral and un-American’

The current “family separation crisis” has multiple causes, but “the immediate cause … is (the Justice Department’s) recent institution of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy under which all adults who enter the United States illegally are referred for prosecution, regardless of whether such individuals are claiming asylum and regardless of whether they are accompanied by minor children,” the senators wrote.

In addition to Gardner, signers include Sens. Orin Hatch, R-Utah; John McCain, R-Ariz.; Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; Susan Collins, R-Md.; Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; John Boozman, R-Ark.;  Dean Heller, R-Nev.; James Lankford, R-Okla.; and Bill Cassidy, R-La.

You can read the letter here.

On Monday, Colorado’s other senator, Democrat Michael Bennet, joined many of his party colleagues in decrying the family separation policy.

“The increasing number of children being ripped away from their parents is sickening,” Bennet said in a statement. “Americans of all political stripes have spoken out against this immoral policy. Yet the president and his administration continue to perpetuate falsehoods and blame others for their own cruelty. Their separation policy undermines our most sacred values as Americans, fails to keep our country safer, and causes unnecessary trauma for thousands of children and families. Every member of Congress must stand up for these children by demanding that the administration end its policy now.”

Erin Prater

Erin Prater

Erin Prater is Colorado Politics' digital editor. She is a multimedia journalist with 15 years of experience writing, editing and designing for newspapers, magazines, websites and publishing houses. Her previous positions include military reporter at The Gazette, general assignment reporter at The Huerfano County (Colo.) World, copy editor at David C. Cook publishing house and adjunct mass communication instructor at Pueblo Community College. Her bylines include The New York Times Upfront, The Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, S.D.), Military Spouse magazine and Omaha Magazine (Omaha, Neb.). Her syndicated bylines include The Denver Post,, and wire services.