Time for action against 'immoral' detention of children at border, Sharpton says

It’s time for civil rights-era-style action against the separation of children from their parents in southern border-land detention centers, the Rev. Al Sharpton said Saturday.

Sharpton announced plans to meet kids detained separately from their parents as he blasted Attorney General Jeff Sessions for “quoting the Bible out of context" to defend “immoral” government policy.

Both Sessions and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders turned to the Good Book last week as they advocated for the Trump administration's policy of forcibly taking kids away from parents if they illegally cross the southern U.S. border.

“When I saw the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, stand on television quoting the Bible out of context and using a Scripture that they used to justify slavery, then I knew we had to not only do something, we had to go there,” Sharpton told the crowd at his National Action Network headquarters in Harlem. “One of the things I learned in the (civil rights) movement is you got to know when to show up.”

The outspoken critic of President Trump said he plans to do just that this week. Sharpton will spearhead a mixed group of clergy members who will visit children's’ detention centers in Brownsville, Texas, and San Diego.

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Inside Otay Mesa immigration detention center
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Inside Otay Mesa immigration detention center
Detainees are seen at Otay Mesa immigration detention center in San Diego, California, U.S. May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Detainees attend a service in a chapel at Otay Mesa immigration detention center in San Diego, California, U.S. May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Detainees' possessions are seen at Otay Mesa immigration detention center in San Diego, California, U.S. May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Detainees are seen at Otay Mesa immigration detention center in San Diego, California, U.S. May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Detainees are seen at Otay Mesa immigration detention center in San Diego, California, U.S. May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Handcuffs are seen at Otay Mesa immigration detention center in San Diego, California, U.S. May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
An ICE officer is seen at Otay Mesa immigration detention center in San Diego, California, U.S. May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Barbed wire is seen through a door at Otay Mesa immigration detention center in San Diego, California, U.S. May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A guard watches a suicidal detainee in a cell at Otay Mesa immigration detention center in San Diego, California, U.S. May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
A detainee stands in a cell at Otay Mesa immigration detention center in San Diego, California, U.S. May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Detainees are seen at Otay Mesa immigration detention center in San Diego, California, U.S. May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
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Sharpton called Trump’s latest immigration enforcement policy “immoral and unjustifiable,” noting that the President’s claim that his administration is merely enforcing a law put in place by Democrats is blatantly false.

No federal law calls requires the separation of families at the border.

“First of all, it’s not in the law,” Sharpton said. “The law is that you can bring people in and hold them for an asylum hearing. It does not say you have to separate children from parents. That is not true.

"So Attorney General Sessions, if you’re going to quote the Bible, quote the Ten Commandments. ‘Thou shalt not lie,’ ” he added.

Several other faith leaders have spoken out against the policy.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan, appearing on CNN Friday, called the practice “unbiblical.”

Sessions’ own church, the United Methodist Church, called on the Trump administration to stop the separating of immigrant families and denying asylum to those fleeing domestic abuse.

In a statement from Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, general secretary of the United Methodist Church, the denomination described the policies as a "shocking violation of the spirit of the Gospel."

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