Murkowski concerned about Sessions border policy

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, left. Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Thursday she’s troubled by the Trump administration’s practice of removing children from their parents when a family is caught crossing the border without authorization.

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“If we’re talking about young children here, young families and a forced separation for an indefinite period of time, I have concerns about it,” Murkowski told reporters.

Murkowski said the separations are especially worrisome when there isn’t a clear process or a focus on the needs of small children.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month announced a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal crossings at the Southern border. He warned that parents will be jailed and their children detained separately. Sessions defended the policy again today, saying consistent enforcement of the law is good and moral. He said the parents are to blame.

“They are the ones who broke the law,” Sessions said, in a speech in Indiana aimed at countering criticism from Christian leaders. “They are the ones who endangered their own children with this trek.”

“Normally, the adults are only held in custody for a week or two or three before they would enter a plea of guilty for time served and allowed to go home, with their children,” Sessions said.

A spokeswoman for Don Young said the congressman believes detaining people who cross illegally is important to border security but thinks there are solutions that can keep families together. She said he looks forward to considering a bill that allows for family unity.

Sen. Dan Sullivan’s office did not respond by our deadline.

Liz Ruskin is the Washington, D.C., correspondent at Alaska Public Media. Reach her Read more about Lizhere.

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