Trump orders halt to family separations

23 June, 2018, 01:30 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Immigration bill

A federal appeals court has interpreted the Flores agreement to allow immigration officials to detain families for only 20 days.

Donald Trump will sign an executive order later today to stop immigrant families being split up at the US-Mexico border.

The president and his top aides have insisted for days that they had no choice but to separate children from their parents due to unspecified USA laws.

The administration recently put into place a "zero tolerance" policy in which all unlawful border crossings are referred for prosecution - a process that 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.

"It continues to be a zero tolerance", Trump said Wednesday.

"The Department of Homeland Security will do what is possible to hold illegal border crossers accountable while also holding families together as long as the law allows".

Pictures and accounts of the separations sparked outrage and a rebellion among Republicans in Trump's own party, as well as worldwide accusation that the U.S. was committing human rights violations. "But we also don't want families to be locked up in internment centers in America". Photos of crying toddlers and what critics are calling "baby jails" - the social services centers holding children taken from their parents - drew criticism from Pope Francis, whom Melania Trump met previous year.

"We need to embrace our legacy as a safe haven for the persecuted and stop subjecting bona-fide refugees to further trauma by locking them up while they pursue their lawful claims to relief", Tonello said. She also worries that it's even more hard for families to pursue asylum claims while they are in federal detention.

It was not immediately clear what Trump, who had previously blamed the family separations on Democrats, would sign.


Republicans were scrambling to update their approach ahead of a visit from Trump, who called earlier in the day for Congress to approve what he called a third option to address the family separations.

"We're going to have strong, very strong borders, but we're going to keep the families together", said Trump, who added he didn't like the "sight" or "feeling" of children separated from their parents. The details of the executive order were worked out between the White House, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security, a source said. "I feel sorry for the kids. but why can't we protect our borders the way other countries protect theirs?"

Just before President Trump told reporters he would reverse course and seek to keep the families together in detention, a White House official said that "from the start Mrs. Trump has been encouraging the president to do all he can to keep families together".

The recent furor over the family separations, and the chaotic White House response, have engulfed Republicans less than five months before November elections that will determine whether the GOP remains in control of Congress.

Wednesday's move was the most significant policy reversal by Trump since he took office in January 2017.

Meanwhile, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein - the UN's top human rights official - essentially accused the U.S. of committing child abuse.

New York Mayor Bill De Blasio announced he would visit a camp in Tornillo, Texas, on Thursday that the government recently constructed to house immigrant children.

The more conservative bill from Republican lawmaker Bob Goodlatte also would deny the chance of future citizenship to "Dreamers", who are immigrants brought illegally into the United States years ago as children.

The President continued to use tough immigration rhetoric even on Wednesday though, signaling that he is not softening his desire to change the country's laws more broadly.

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