Trump Signs Order to 'keep Families Together'
- Karl Malone
Fiery Democratic leaders from Vermont to New Jersey to Texas met President Donald Trump's executive order to stop dividing immigrant families with deep skepticism, promising waves of protests, border visits and congressional oversight to shine new light on the Republican administration's immigration tactics.
This comes barely a day after when the US president defended his policy of separating children from their families who have been illegally crossing the southern US-Mexico border, saying, to prosecute parents for illicit entry, "you have to take the children away".
The government earlier in June said 1,995 minors had been separated from 1,940 adults who had crossed the U.S. -Mexico border, although some minors had crossed without their parents or adult kin.
United States immigration officials say 2,342 children were separated from 2,206 parents between 5 May and 9 June.
Those youngsters would remain separated while their parents were under federal custody during immigration proceedings, according to The New York Times, before officials backed off those comments late Wednesday. "I am also deeply troubled to hear reports that the administration, in its haste to hold innocent children hostage in order to demand funds for a border wall, failed to plan appropriately to reunite these families following their separation", the Democrat said. "Reunification is always the ultimate goal of those entrusted with the care of [unaccompanied children], and the administration is working towards that for those [unaccompanied children] now in HHS custody". An official with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday that the 2,300 children won't be immediately reunited with their families.
"I did not like the sight of families being separated", he added. "We are going to have very strong borders, but we're going to keep the families together", he said. The change would require court approval, a process that may grow complicated if immigrant activists or others pose a legal challenge to the move.
For weeks, Trump had insisted he was bound by law to split the children from their parents and that only Congress could resolve the problem - before he radically shifted gears. Melania Trump issued a rare policy statement over the weekend in which she split with her husband over the administration's policy.
"President Trump has finally recognized his folly, but this humanitarian crisis should have never happened in the first place", she said. "And we will have that - at the same time, we have compassion".
Instead, they'll be under the custody of the Department of Homeland Security, a change the administration had previously said it could not make.
At the same time, the Justice Department went to court in an attempt to overturn a decades-old settlement that limits to 20 days the amount of time migrant children can be locked up with their families. If the new policy is rejected by the courts, which the administration acknowledges is a possibility, the debate could move back to square one.
New 'Time' Cover Highlights the Cruelty of Trump's Immigration Policy
An upcoming Time magazine cover will be mash-up sure to spur passions in the nation's ongoing immigration debate. Time magazine has always known to come up with unique covers of raging issues and this time it's no different.
United chief executive Oscar Munoz said: "We want no part of it".
British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Council of Europe and Pope Francis all took issue with the "zero tolerance" policy.
Pelosi said using terrified small children as "leverage" to push the President's anti-immigrant agenda represents an "unspeakably appalling moral low-point for our nation".
After a downturn past year, since October, the number of migrants seeking to cross the southwest U.S. border from impoverished Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, as well as from Mexico, has surged.
"It continues to be a zero tolerance", Trump said Wednesday.
Almost all of the arriving families, and many others, have officially requested asylum, citing the incessant violence in their home countries.
On a practical level, the zero tolerance policy has overwhelmed the federal agency charged with caring for the new influx of children who tend to be much younger than teens who typically have been traveling to the USA alone.
What's happening right now is that the horrifying images of children being torn from their parents' arms have spurred House Republicans to take one more shot at broad immigration reform.
Though the House is supposed to vote on immigration Thursday, a conservative leader within the GOP conference says the bill "is not ready for primetime". Under law, children entering the US alongside adults fall under the Office of Refugee Resettlement's care while those criminal cases are pursued.
Trump had tweeted early Wednesday, before issuing his order: "It's the Democrats fault, they won't give us the votes needed to pass good immigration legislation". So why do I say this is going to fail?
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