Trump's Border Separations Opposed by Top Business Lobbies

(Bloomberg) -- Two top U.S. business lobbying groups oppose President Donald Trump’s policy of separating immigrant children from their families after they cross the border illegally.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable came out against the separations Tuesday, adding to bipartisan opposition that has pushed Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress to seek an exit from the political bind he has created with the policy.

"This is not who we are and it must end now," Tom Donohue, the longtime president of the chamber, wrote in a blog post.

Donohue slammed the administration for acting against what he described as a "core" American value of not punishing children for their parents’ crimes, and for using the separations "as leverage to gain other immigration policy changes from Congress."

The chamber is a major force in GOP politics, although it has often split with Republican lawmakers with its support of efforts to keep undocumented immigrants who arrived as children in the U.S. The group has previously broken with Trump over his stances on immigration and tariffs.

Business Roundtable, which represents top U.S. chief executive officers, said the "practice is cruel and contrary to American values," according to a statement from Cisco Systems Inc. CEO Chuck Robbins, who heads the group’s immigration committee.

Immigration Centers

The president also spoke Tuesday to the National Federation of Independent Business trade group, arguing that the U.S. can have either “totally open borders or criminal prosecution for law-breaking.”

The administration is detaining more than 2,000 children taken from their parents in immigration centers around the country.

Facebook Inc. CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted on his social media site on Tuesday that the U.S. needs "to stop this policy right now" and urged readers to donate to organizations "doing great work helping families at the U.S. border get legal advice and translation services, as well as documenting what is happening on the ground."

Microsoft Corp. also briefly scrubbed an online reference to its work for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as the agency faces criticism for its role in the separations. The company said it urged "the administration to change its policy and Congress to pass legislation ensuring children are no longer separated from their families."

Trump showed no sign on Tuesday that he would back down in the face of bipartisan criticism from members of Congress, who are scrambling to draft legislation that would prevent his government from taking children from immigrant parents apprehended crossing the border illegally.

“We must always arrest people coming into our Country illegally,” Trump said in a tweet. “Of the 12,000 children, 10,000 are being sent by their parents on a very dangerous trip, and only 2000 are with their parents, many of whom have tried to enter our Country illegally on numerous occasions.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.