Clarke Tucker, the Democratic candidate for 2nd District Congress, stepped up his objections to Trump administration immigration policy today with a statement opposing use of Little Rock Air Force Base as a detention facility for children taken from parents at the border.

His statement:

Clarke Tucker, Democratic candidate for Arkansas’s 2nd Congressional District, today released a statement regarding recent news that Little Rock’s Air Force Base is under consideration as a potential migrant-housing facility, due to a surge of children who the United States government is now separating from their parents and families.

“The United States has long been the standard-bearer of democracy and freedom throughout the world, but sadly we are not living up to our core values right now,” Tucker said. “As a parent, I cannot fathom needlessly separating a child from their mother or father, and I cannot support using the Little Rock Air Force Base to implement this shameful policy. The fact that we would even need to discuss additional facilities to take care of the thousands of children being taken from their families is incomprehensible to me. Though Congressman Hill and I have genuine differences on a number of policy issues, separating children from their parents should not be one of them. We should not be needlessly ripping children from their parents — not in our state, not in our country.”

Between October 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018 at least 2,700 children were taken from their parents, including 1,995 in the six-week period between April 18 to May 31 of this year.

“Arkansans are horrified,” Tucker said. “Members of Congress, Congressman Hill included, must find the courage to stand above party politics and do what is right, work to put an immediate end to the practice of separating families, and reunite families that have been torn apart. Then we can come together on comprehensive immigration reform that both secures our borders and creates opportunity for those seeking to work for a better life, especially those brought to the United States as children.”

Monday, Tucker said of the Trump separation policy:

“This administration’s decision to separate children from their parents on our southern border is reprehensible, and it is easily one of the worst practices the United States government has engaged in during my lifetime

In multiple interviews, Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill has supported the Trump line in pointing blame at Democrats, who are in the minority in Congress, for the family disruptions and said law changes, rather than an executive order, were necessary as a remedy.

To date, only Republican Rep. Bruce Westerman and Sen. John Boozman among Arkansans in Congress have specifically objected to family separations. The Arkansas Republican Party, through chairman Doyle Webb, has unequivocally supported Trump’s policy and, as he’s done, dishonestly tried to pin the blame on Democrats. Sen. Tom Cotton has stridently supported the Trump detention policy.

There have been reports this morning that the Trump administration has officials at work on a policy to continue detention of families crossing the border, but not separating children from their parents.

Hill remains under cover.