California state legislators passed a resolution Thursday calling on Congress to formally apologize, and for President Donald Trump to join them in acknowledging wrongdoing in separating illegal alien family units at the border.
State Senators Kevin de León, Richard Pan, and Scott Wiener authored the joint resolution that was scheduled for debate, and passed on Thursday. KPBS reported just three legislators opposed — Joel Anderson, Mike Morrell, and Jim Nielsen — while 29 approved it, and eight didn’t vote.
The California Senate resolution calls on Congress to specifically apologize to the children separated from the adult foreign nationals who illegally brought them across the U.S. border. It also petitions Congress and President Trump to acknowledge wrongdoing in separating illegal alien adults and children.
The resolution describes the policy of separating foreign nationals who have crossed the border illegally as “detrimental.” De León described the separations as “government-sanctioned kidnapping.”
“They created the problem, they need to fix the problem and make sure there is clear accountability,” de León proclaimed in the California Senate resolution, according to the report. “We should apologize to these children we have permanently harmed,” said Sen. Pan. Pan compared family separation to U.S. WWII internment of Japanese citizens.
The 1997 Flores settlement under President Bill Clinton dictated that children could not be detained more than 20 days. That policy continued to exist under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Due to the pre-existing policy, President Trump’s no tolerance border security policy resulted in separation of illegal alien adults held for crossing the border illegally,from children they brought over with them.
The separation of family units at the border was halted in the wake of public reaction, a judge’s order, and President Trump’s executive order to challenge the 1997 Flores settlement while continuing prosecution of illegal border crossers. The Trump administration began reuniting parents and children that had been separated. Some of the family reunifications took time, in part due to measures taken to verify adults were not given possession of children those adults had crossed the border with, but who did not belong to them.
The California Senate resolution used research from organizations including the American Psychiatric Association and American Academy of Pediatrics to make their case, stating the separations can cause children’s brains long-term harm, according to the report.