Kansas officials ask Yoder to seek end of family separations at US border

TOPEKA, Kan. — Dozens of elected officials in Rep. Kevin Yoder's congressional district in Kansas are pushing him to demand an end to the forced separation of families caught crossing the U.S. border illegally.

Democratic state Rep. Jarrod Ousley of Merriam and Republican state Rep. Linda Gallagher of Lenexa delivered a letter Wednesday to Yoder's office in Overland Park.

U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The letter urged Yoder to demand that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security stop separating families. The letter argues the decision targets and harms children in an attempt to deter or punish parents.

Republican state Sen. Barbara Bollier said the separation can create long lasting consequences for the children.

"It matters that many people from diverse views are saying no," she said. "We need a better system in place for those children and their families."

Yoder is chairman of a House Appropriations homeland security subcommittee. The GOP congressman said in a statement that he is "heartbroken" by the separations and is working to find a solution.

Most of the more than 60 people who signed the letter are state lawmakers or local officials in the 3rd Congressional District in the Kansas City area.