Trump Announces Executive Order On Family Separations

Charlene Craig
June 22, 2018

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen drafted an order for the agency to halt the practice of separating families that cross the border illegally, according to the Associated Press.

They also said the president did not offer any signal on whether he'd support a standalone legislative fix.

New York City's mayor says he was surprised to learn a children's center in Harlem is caring for 239 migrant children separated from their parents by federal immigration officials.

The shift in Trump's thinking came an hour after Speaker Paul Ryan said the House would vote Thursday on a compromise between conservative and moderate Republican lawmakers that would address the issue of family separations.

The president had repeatedly, and as recently as Wednesday morning, blamed Democrats and previous administrations for the widely condemned policy of taking children from parents, and was accused of placing the children in a hostage-like situation so as to not only pass sweeping immigration reforms but to ensure funding for his proposed border wall.

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"The administration still plans to criminalize families - including children - by holding them in prison-like detention facilities". If our Republican colleagues, and the Republican leadership in particular, want to solve this problem, they ought to be directing their attention to the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House because that's where it can get done, done well, and done quickly, he said.

The effort would mark a dramatic departure for an administration that has been insisting, wrongly, that it has no choice but to separate families apprehended at the border because of the law and a court decision. One official said it was the Justice Department that generated the legal strategy that is codified in the executive order, and disputed the notion that Homeland Security was involved in drawing up the document. "Tomorrow, the House will vote on legislation to keep families together. They really would like to have open borders where anybody in the world can just flow in, including the Middle East", said Trump.

Under the "zero-tolerance" policy, anyone who crosses the USA border faces criminal prosecution, meaning parents are sent to jail while their children are put into government custody. And officials said the cases of the children already separated and turned over to their custody would proceed as usual.

Attorneys and advocates say that some children whose parents seek asylum are in fact being separated at ports of entry and that they're hard to track down.

Following the meeting he tweeted: "Republicans want security".

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Critics say this sends a message that the administration turns a blind eye to human rights abuses in some parts of the world. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo , appearing alongside Haley, said: "Too many commitments have gone unfulfilled".

The "zero tolerance" policy put into place last month moves adults to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and sends many children to facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Trump's family apparently played a role in his turnaround.

Parents have been told to call hotlines to find their children, and the government said it would work to schedule regular phone calls.

Under a court settlement, the federal government can not hold the children for more than 20 days.

After children are released to a parent or relative, guardians must make sure the kids attend immigration court hearings and check in regularly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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