ROUNDUP: Where Alaska’s Leaders Stand on the Inhumane Trump Family Separation Policy

Statements are not Enough, Leadership Means Taking Action


As thousands of children remain separated from their parents and detained, President Trump just signed an Executive Order related to the ongoing crisis. Meanwhile, Alaska’s leaders have been scattered in their message and approach to dealing with the crisis. While Alaskans have overwhelmingly stated that they wish more was being done in Congress and within the Administration to immediately end this policy, Senator Murkowski is the only member of the state’s leadership team who has used her position to call for an immediate end to the practice of ripping children out of their parent’s arms. Governor Walker, Senator Sullivan, and Congressman Young all released statements noting the horrific act of separating families, yet they have refrained from actually taking any actions to end this crisis.  


Governor Walker


Walker Tweets About Border Separation Policy, But Stops Short of Using His Position or Administration to Engage on Issue.The last in the state’s leadership to weigh in on the ongoing crisis, Walker tweeted that the policy was frightening children and that families should stay together. Earlier in the week, however, Governor Walker declined to have his Administration participate in a letter signed by 22 state attorneys general calling on the Trump Administration to end the policy immediately.  [Twitter, 6/19/18; The Hill 6/19/18]


Senator Murkowski


Senator Murkowski Makes Definitive Statement, Signs Letter to Attorney General Sessions Calling for Immediate End to Family Separations. Murkowski called on the administration to immediately end the family separations which she described as “cruel” and “tragic.” Senator Murkowski also participated in a letter with other Republican Senators written directly to Attorney General Sessions calling for an end to family separations. [The Hill, 6/19/18]


Senator Sullivan


Sullivan Calls Child Separations “Heartbreaking”, But Stops Short of Calling for Immediate Stop. Sullivan called the family separations “heartbreaking”, but stopped short of calling for an immediate stop to the cruel practice, stating instead that Congress needed to find the “right balance” for immigration policy. [Anchorage Daily News, 6/19/18; Midnight Sun 6/19/18]


Congressman Young


Young Says He is “Sympathetic” to Family Separations, But Stops Short of Calling for Immediate Stop. Young’s office put out a statement explaining he was sympathetic to the separation of families, but focused on Congress finding legislation as a solution rather than an immediate end to the policy. [Anchorage Daily News, 6/19/18]


The bottom line: there is more that all of our state’s leaders could be doing do demonstrate that this horrific policy is unacceptable and does not reflect our values. Our Congressional delegation could take legislative action to ensure that no money is permitted to be spent on the separation and/or detainment of children at the border. The Governor could use his position as an executive to speak directly to the Trump Administration about ending this policy and publicly declare that no Alaska resources will be used to support these cruel separations. Tweets and statements are not enough, real leadership means taking action.