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Jenkins calls on White House to end family separations at border

| Tuesday, June 19, 2018

University President Fr. John Jenkins condemned the Trump administration’s policy of separating families at the Mexican border as “cruel” in a statement Tuesday.

“Central to the Holy Cross education Notre Dame offers is a sense of family, centered on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and in that spirit I call on the administration to end immediately the cruel practice of separating children from parents and parents from children,” he said in the statement.

The practice stems from a “zero-tolerance policy” the Department of Justice announced April 6, which requires the prosecution of everyone who attempts to cross the border illegally. However, the department cannot prosecute any children detained at the border with their parents. As a result, those children are separated from their families while their parents face prosecution.

The White House has been inconsistent in its reasoning for the practice. On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible as justification for it. Later that day, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said it is “very biblical to enforce the law.”

In a series of tweets Monday morning, President Donald Trump attempted to shift blame for the policy onto Democrats, writing that it is the party’s “fault for being weak and ineffective with Boarder [sic] Security and Crime. Tell them to start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration. Change the laws!”

Jenkins joins both Democrats and Republicans — including former First Lady Laura Bush — and Catholic leaders such as Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in condemning the practice and calling for an end to it.

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