U.S. Congressman Gregg Harper (MS-03), Chairman of the Committee on House Administration and the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, released the following statement on U.S. immigration reform:

“The Trump Administration is making the enforcement of our immigration laws a priority.┬áPresident Trump made immigration a priority in his campaign for presidency, and I believe that a substantial portion of voters support existing immigration laws. The goal is to guarantee border security for the American people, enforce the existing rule of law, and close loopholes that currently exist within our immigration system.

I believe, along with many Americans, in the rule of law. While it is disheartening to see children separated from their families, it is a direct result of their parents’ decision to break federal law and bring them across the border illegally.

The vast majority of children that are crossing the border are unaccompanied minors, meaning that the majority of families crossing the border have already made the decision to self-separate.

The Department of Homeland Security has taken custody of approximately 2,000 children who were brought across the border illegally by their parents. Federal law does not allow for children to be held in ICE detention centers with their parents. It would also be inhumane for us to release the children to fend for themselves or for the children to be sent back to their country without their families with them.

This is a daunting problem that both Presidents Bush and Obama faced as well. I am opposed to illegal immigration, but we should be discussing a way to change the law so that these families with young children won’t be separated even in a zero-tolerance environment. I look forward to our meeting with President Trump this evening so that we can discuss this issue in more detail and determine what steps can be taken that uphold both the laws and ideals of our great nation.”