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Valley lawmakers reacting to children separated from parents at the border

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Lawmakers in and around the Mahoning Valley are sharing their views on a barrage of media reports regarding the separation of nearly 2,000 children from their parents at the border. 

National media outlets have been reporting about children who are separated from their parents and held during criminal proceedings regarding illegal immigration. 

CNN reports that the separations are part of the White House and Department of Homeland Security's "zero-tolerance policy". 

The backlash has grown, following a Senate bill introduced by California Senator Diane Feinstein, with the backing of dozens of lawmakers, to immediately end the practice of separating children from their parents. 

However, President Trump took to Twitter Monday morning, to say that the policy is the fault of Democrats, saying the party is "weak and ineffective" and calling for a change in laws. 

The President also alluded to European politics, citing the fact that immigration in Germany has led to higher crime rates and protests against the government. 

Trump tweeted alleging that children are being used to promote crime and as a means to enter the United States using the southern border. 

The President also said reportedly that the United States would not become a "migrant camp" on his watch. 

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke Monday morning, saying that law enforcement officials do not want to separate children from parents, however,  children must be taken from their parents at the border because children can't be sent to jail.

Meanwhile, Valley lawmakers have begun reacting to the controversy as well. 

Appearing on national television Monday morning, Republican Governor John Kasich calling the policy "wrong". 

Kasich asked followers on his Twitter feed, "Can you imagine it happening to your family?"

Meanwhile, Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown said that he stands behind Sen. Feinstein's legislation, calling the immigration system "broken". 

"We demand all children be treated with compassion. Tearing families apart is wrong and will not fix our broken immigration system," tweeted Sen. Brown. 

In Pennsylvania, Democratic Senator Bob Casey is also supporting legislation to stop the policy of separation. 

His recent tweets say the policy is "morally abhorrent" and that President Trump and the Department of Homeland Security "are not telling you the truth.  

Casey argued that if the policy continues, the United States could be holding 30,000 children by August. 

Republican Senators Rob Portman (OH) and Pat Toomey (PA) have neither tweeted nor issued releases on the matter. However, 21 News has reached out to their offices for a response. 

Meanwhile, Congressman Tim Ryan announced his support for a House bill known as the HELP Separated Children Act. 
 

Republican Congressman Bill Johnson issued a statement Monday saying: 

"By choosing to cross the border, illegally, and often in dangerous circumstances, illegal immigrants are putting their children at risk. No one likes to see the images we have seen, but it's important to remember that this is not a new policy or new phenomenon at our southern border.  I've said for years now that we need immigration reform, and that it starts with securing our borders, period. Once we have robust border security, then we can start to work on solving these other important issues. The President will be meeting with House Republicans tomorrow on a way forward, and I look forward to hearing what he has to say."

The policy has also received backlash from well-known figures, such as Former First Lady Laura Bush, who said that she understands the need for immigration reform, but called the separation policy "immoral" and said, "it breaks my heart." 

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