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Texas lawmakers call for end to family separation policy

President Donald Trump is facing mounting pressure, from both Democrats and Republicans, to end his administration's policy of separating children from their undocumented immigrant parents at the border.

AUSTIN — AUSTIN -- The world is now seeing images of men, women and children being held behind chain linked fences along with audio, obtained by ProPublica, said to be recorded inside a detention center of children crying as they're separated from their parents.

"It is gut-wrenching," said State Representative Cesar Blanco (D-El Paso). "It's hurtful. And I think it is so counter to our values as a society."

Sunday, Representative Blanco joined other state and national leaders in a march calling for an end to the family separations that are part of the Trump Administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy. Families taken into custody at the border are being forcibly separated as they wait for a judge to hear their case.

After marching, Representative Blanco sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott calling on him to pull the Texas National Guard and DPS Troopers from the border.

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"Texas spends $2.5 billion through our National Guard in assisting border patrol and border security operations. In effect, Texas is helping apprehend some of these folks and essentially separating these children from their families," Blanco said.

KVUE News reached out to Governor Greg Abbott's office. He was not available for an interview and did not release a statement.

Tuesday, Texas Speaker of the House Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) weighed in by penning a letter to President Donald Trump. In it he writes:

"it is wrong to use these scared, vulnerable children as a negotiating tool. Their suffering should also not be used to deter illegal immigration."

President Donald Trump (R) has blamed the separations on Democrats.

"I say it's very strongly the Democrats fault. They're obstruction, they are really obstructionist," he told reporters.

Republican U.S. Senators John Cornyn (Texas) and Ted Cruz (Texas) have both proposed bills to keep families together while they await immigration hearings.

In the House, Representative Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) has tried to pass amendments.

"Speaker Ryan blocked the first such amendment. I'll have another one up next week," Doggett said. "But we know no legislation is required because all Donald Trump has to do is sign his name or make a phone call and this policy that he started a year-and-a-half into his administration can come to as quick a halt as it began with,"

The House is expected to vote on bills related to immigration at the end of the week.

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