U.S. Sen. Doug Jones says immigration system needs overhaul, faults Trump Administration approach to border detentions

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After widespread calls to end the practice of separating parents and children who had been caught crossing into the U.S., President Trump signed an order Wednesday ending the practice. Alabama U.S. Sen. Doug Jones weighed in on the issue Thursday.

Jones said he supported legislation that would've ended the practice of separating families caught by U.S. immigration officers. He said he appreciated President Trump's move Wednesday, but says more needs to be done.

"Unlimited detention is an issue that people are and should be concerned about. There's also the unanswered question about what happens to the children that have been separated thus far," said Jones.

Jones argues the Trump administration's decision to prosecute every border crossing criminally has led to the detention issues.

"Currently someone coming across the border can be a misdemeanor. You can also handle it administratively. You know this administration has decided it would take a zero-tolerance policy and prosecute everybody," Jones said.

Misdemeanor convictions usually result in fines or brief jail time.

"You know most misdemeanors are handled in a lot different ways than what's being handled here were people are put in custody," he said.

Jones also stressed a long-term immigration policy needs to be worked out despite widespread differences of opinion.

"There is no one in the Congress that believes in open borders, no one, despite what you've heard, no one believes in open borders. The question is what are we going to do as a country to do an enforce our borders but do it in a way that we don't create a humanitarian crisis like we've got now," Jones said.

Jones added that the Senate Homeland Security Committee has asked the Trump administration for the costs of housing the immigrant detainees. He said he expects the ongoing costs are "enormous."