Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and 20 other attorneys generals are calling on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to end the current treatment of children and families seeking asylum in the United States.
Thousands of children have been detained and separated from their parents.
Sessions criticized the Obama administration when parents who separated themselves from their children by sending them on their own or with human trafficking operations to the U.S./Mexico border.
"As former U.S. Attorneys, we know that none of these consequences ― nor the policy itself ― is required by law", they wrote in their letter to Sessions.
Defending a policy that has provoked an outcry around the country and accusations of human rights violations, Sessions said the government is trying to halt a five-fold increase in the number of families illegally crossing the border in just four years.
Democratic Attorneys General in 21 states are calling on the Trump Administration to end the "zero tolerance" policy that has resulted in the separation of families at the US border.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions dismissed comparisons of the detention facilities for migrant children to Nazi concentration camps by arguing that Nazis "were keeping the Jews from leaving the country". "That's why I'm demanding that Attorney General Sessions halt the practice of family separation at the border immediately as Congress works toward legislative solutions". That means children must be taken from their parents at the border because children can't be sent to jail.
"Parents who entered illegally are, by definition, criminals", she said.
A "zero-tolerance" policy on illegal immigrants at the US border that has led to families being separated and children being held in detention facilities has come under intense, bipartisan criticism in recent weeks.
"It was important to us that we gather a bipartisan group of former DOJ U.S. attorneys, because this (policy) has never been done in Republican or Democratic administrations in the past", he said. As The Washington Post's Julie Zauzmer reported Tuesday, sermons from pulpits across America - from Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Presbyterian, Mennonite preachers and others - decried the Trump administration's immigration policies and urged congregants to speak out against xenophobia and injustice.