Two historically conservative business lobbying groups on Tuesday slammed the Trump administration for its policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the southern border and called for the program’s immediate end.
In separate statements, both the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable each plainly and directly appealed for the Trump administration to immediately cease stripping young children from their parents and to stop obstructing solutions to permanently protect the so-called “Dreamers.” They also called for the government to stop using its own inhumane treatment of immigrants as leverage to extract concessions from Congress.
“Thousands of children are being forcibly removed from their parents by our government,” Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue wrote in his statement Tuesday. “There is no other way to say it, this is not who we are and it must end now.”
Donohue said America is at its core a nation of immigrants and argued that Trump’s policy ignores that history.
“One of those values is that children should not be punished for the crimes of their parents,” he said. “Yet, today, government policy is running in direct contradiction to that value.”
What’s more, Donohue excoriated the Trump administration for attempting to use the children it has detained to essentially blackmail Congress into surrendering on other legislative battles.
“Some administration officials reportedly view the policy of separating children from their parents as leverage to gain other immigration policy changes from Congress,” he said.
“Let that sink in for a second,” he continued, “our government is forcibly separating children – including toddlers – from their parents and sending them to detention facilities as a means of sending a message and influencing Congress.”
“Surely a nation as big, generous, and compassionate as the United States can find a way to prevent separating children from their parents at the border,” he said. “If we can’t agree on that, then we can’t agree on anything.”
While less forceful than the Chamber of Commerce’s argument, the Business Roundtable’s statement Tuesday was no less clear:
Business Roundtable urges the Administration to end immediately the policy of separating accompanied minors from their parents. This practice is cruel and contrary to American values.
Both groups also used the occasion to again highlight Trump’s failure to secure protections for “Dreamers,” the name given to those immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and who were formerly protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump himself ended ― yet puzzlingly blames Democrats for.
“These Dreamers have grown up here,” Donohue said. “They went to school with our children, they played on the same sports teams, and they graduated and found jobs. Many have served in our military. Some have started their own businesses, creating jobs for others.
“They are living the American dream. They have done nothing wrong,” he added. “Yet, without Congressional action, they will be deported, punished for the actions of those who brought them here.”
“To allow such a thing to happen would be a true injustice.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.