Senate Republicans call for narrow fix on border family separations

"I think we need to fix the problem," Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell said.

June 19, 2018, 5:50 PM

In a firm rebuke to President Donald Trump, all Republican senators in Congress want to halt the separation of immigrant families at the border, and they plan to work on legislation as soon as this week to stop more separations from happening, the Senate's top Republican said Tuesday.

"I support, and all of the members of the Republican conference support, a plan that keeps families together while their immigration status is determined," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday.

ABC News has reached out to all 51 Republican senators to figure out where they stand on the current practice of separating immigrant children from their families. At least 30 senators so far have condemned the practice.

"We had a very robust discussion at lunch. I understand the president just called on us to fix the problem and obviously for that to occur in the Senate, it will require bipartisan discussions,” McConnell said.

McConnell acknowledged the issue of family separations will have to be in the form of a legislative fix because that is what President Trump is calling for.

"I think we need to fix the problem, it requires a legislative solution," McConnell said.

Some GOP senators have said that Trump could easily reverse the policy without congressional approval.

"I think that administratively, the secretary, the attorney general, the president, they can move on this tomorrow ... yes legislation is one avenue but it is not the only avenue," Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, told reporters.

McConnell and members of the GOP leadership say they plan to work on a bill as soon as this week that will be narrow in scope to solely address the issue of family separations, and not part of broader immigration reform legislation.

“In order to fix this problem you can’t fix all the problems,” he said. “It would need to be a narrow agreement," McConnell said.

When McConnell was asked if family separation will tar Republicans in the midterm elections, McConnell said: “It’s not going to tar anybody. We’re going to fix the problem.”

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