Trump to sign decree to end migrant family separations

Nellie Chapman
June 22, 2018

That may violate a court settlement on how long children may be held, setting up a potential legal fight, unless Congress acts on the issue. But the implementation of "zero tolerance" by the Trump administration has led to more prosecutions and, thus, more separations.

In May, the Department of Justice adopted the zero-tolerance policy in which anyone caught entering the US illegally is criminally prosecuted. "We're going to keep families together but we still have to maintain toughness or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don't stand for and that we don't want", Trump said.

The videos of children sitting in cages and an audiotape of wailing children had sparked anger in the United States from groups ranging from clergy to influential business leaders, as well as condemnation from overseas, including by Pope Francis. In the Oval Office, Trump said he had heard from his daughter Ivanka about the policy, too. I consider it to be a very important executive order. "I'll be doing something that's somewhat pre-emptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation, I'm sure", Trump added.

This is all the more true now that ORR, in another draconian policy change, has begun working hand in hand with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Instinctively combative and fond of chaos, Trump usually digs in on controversial policies, rather than backing down.

Although critics argued that family detention was also inhumane, it certainly did not generate the same level of outrage at Trump's policy of family separation. But the programs are hard to navigate, immigrant advocates told CNN, and parents in immigration officials' custody or jail can't get phone calls.

It was a dramatic turnaround for Trump, who has been insisting, wrongly, that his administration had no choice but to separate families apprehended at the border because of federal law and a court decision.

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Senate Republicans on Tuesday moved to end a political crisis inflicted on the party by President Trump by voicing support for an immigration bill that would end the separation of children from their parents and guardians at the border.

It also directs the Department of Defence to take steps to house detained immigrant families as needed. POTUS, Nielsen and others were not telling the truth when they previously claimed only Congress could stop family separation. And members on the fence over pending immigration legislation were also heading to the White House to meet with Trump.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says the House will vote on the immigration bill Wednesday but offered no back-up plan if the measure fails.

The controversy has reignited the Democratic effort to restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, that gives relief to some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the children.

On Capitol Hill, Republicans were still debating what's being cast as a GOP compromise immigration bill. The incoherence was most evident on Monday when the daily White House presser was serially delayed while DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Trump staffers struggled behind closed doors to get their story straight on family separation. But it appeared that the time parents can stay with their children is capped at 20 days.

The Trump administration could allow bond hearings for immigrant families and release them if they are not a flight risk or danger to the community. Existing policies place the burden on parents to find their children in Department of Health and Human Services custody and seek to reunite with them.

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