Trump should end policy on family separation, says Koch-backed group and business leaders

  • Members of the business community are voicing their outrage at President Donald Trump's new immigration policy of separating children from their parents at the border, including a group being funded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.
  • The Libre Initiative, a nonprofit group financially backed by the Koch brothers, called on the Trump administration on Tuesday to reverse course on what's been called a zero tolerance immigration policy, which forces children to part ways with their families if they illegally cross the border.
Charles and David Koch
Miller Hawkins | MSNBC
Charles and David Koch

Members of the business community are voicing their outrage at President Donald Trump's new immigration policy of separating children from their parents at the border, including a group being funded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch.

The Libre Initiative, a nonprofit group financially backed by the Koch brothers, called on the Trump administration on Tuesday to reverse course on what's been called a zero-tolerance immigration policy, which forces children to part ways with their families if they illegally cross the border.

"The president should take immediate action to end the separation of families at the border by rescinding the 'zero tolerance' policy," Daniel Garza, president of the initiative said in statement.

Garza also said his organization will not support two immigration bills that are being crafted within the halls of Congress because he does not believe either do enough to protect participants of the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals program, also known as Dreamers.

The Business Roundtable, chaired by J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon also blasted the White House for their latest hostilities toward migrants trying to come into the United States and called for it to be terminated.

"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," Chuck Robbins, CEO of technology conglomerate CISCO Systems and chairman of the Business Roundtable Immigration Committee, said in a statement.

The Business Roundtable includes some members who are supporting Trump's re-election efforts, including Steve Schwarzman, the CEO of private equity behemoth Blackstone. In December 2017, Schwarzman contributed $344,400 to Trump's joint fundraising committee, the Trump Victory Fund.

A spokeswoman for Schwarzman did not return repeated requests for comment asking whether he was willing to denounce the policy himself.

One of the most powerful business lobbying groups in the U.S., the Chamber of Commerce, was also not pleased with the new immigration initiative.

Thomas Donohue, the Chamber's president, denounced the policy in a statement.

"Thousands of children are being forcibly removed from their parents by our government. There is no other way to say it, this is not who we are and it must end now," Donohue said.

Trump, however, seems to be shrugging off the criticism and forging ahead with his plans.

He defended the decision in a speech during the National Federation of Independent Businesses' 75th-anniversary event in Washington D.C.