Senate Democrats announced Tuesday they will oppose any congressional effort to stop children from being separated from migrants attempting to cross the southern U.S. border. On Monday, after controversy over the policy dominated the national media, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced a bill that would allow migrant families to remain together while the adults are processed. On Tuesday, Senate Democrats announced they would oppose congressional efforts at ending this policy. While most Democrat lawmakers oppose child separation at the border, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he wants to instead use the issue to put heat on President Trump. “There are so many obstacles to legislation and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense,” Schumer said at a press conference. “Legislation is not the way to go here when it’s so easy for the president to sign it.”
Democrats are instead calling for Trump to drop a "zero tolerance" policy for illegal entry into the country. By not entering migrants into a judicial proceeding and instead letting them into the country, they would not need to be separated from their parents/guardians. The Cruz bill would keep the zero tolerance policy in place but allow families to remain together during asylum proceedings. "This is a deliberate choice President Trump has made, and he can make the choice to stop it with one phone call, one stroke of the pen, right now," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said. "President Trump does not need Congress to end what he chose to begin. Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong. That is not an opinion. It is a fact." Schumer was peppered with questions from reporters about why Democrats won't join Republicans in passing a bill that ends the separation policy. "Why not just enact the law the stops him from doing this?" a reporter asked.
"There are so many obstacles to legislation, and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense," Schumer replied. "Legislation is not the way to go here. It is an excuse."