Homeland Security drafts plan to end family separation

Pauline Gross
June 21, 2018

President Donald Trump on Tuesday told House Republicans he is "1,000 percent" behind their rival immigration bills, providing no clear path as party leaders searched for a way defuse the escalating controversy over family separations at the southern border.

President Donald Trump announced Wednesday he will sign an executive order to end family separations at the U.S. -Mexico border.

Trump called the executive order "somewhat preemptive", added that it "ultimately will be matched by legislation, I'm sure".

The action, according to people familiar with it, wouldnt end the zero tolerance policy, but would aim to keep families together.

The move has resulted in the USA government sending thousands of children to holding camps around the country, images of which have sparked global outrage, even from within Trump's own party.

Both first lady Melania Trump and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reportedly had roles in the changing course.

After huddling for 45 minutes with fellow Republicans to discuss immigration, Trump exited a meeting room only to be shouted at by a handful of House Democrats angry over the thousands of children who have been separated from their parents as they cross into the country.

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But the measure, combined with the flow of unaccompanied minors attempting to cross the border illegally, has prompted a surge in the number of children in U.S. shelters.

But the reversal, which could face a legal battle, likely won't apply to the more than 2,300 children who have already been separated from their parents, the Department of Health and Human Services said.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar told Fox News' "Special Report" that before families can be reunited, "we're going to have to see how the implementation of the executive order goes". Carlos CurbeloCarlos Luis CurbeloConservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill Hoyer: GOP centrists "sold out" Dreamers Wall Street Journal warns GOP may lose House and Senate over immigration MORE (R-Fla.) - who introduced a measure that would circumvent leadership and force votes of four immigration proposals and said, "I'll sign the dang discharge petition". Trump said his daughter, Ivanka, had told him the situation with the families looks bad, one lawmaker said. We are also going to count on Congress, obviously, but we are signing an executive order in a little while.

Reyna Torres Mendivil, Mexico's consul general in San Antonio, told NPR's Audie Cornish that the process would be hampered by the USA separation process, which keeps parents in ICE custody while moving children into facilities controlled by the Department of Health and Human Services. This rule has led to harsher prosecutions and the further erosion of due process-and it helped lay the groundwork for family separation. "We're working on a much more comprehensive bill", said Trump, who was flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Nielsen. Moreover, "U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operates two large detention centers for families in Texas and a smaller one in Pennsylvania, but their combined capacity is about 3,000 beds".

Since children can not be sent to the facilities where their parents are held, they are separated from them. The order will nearly certainly prompt legal challenges. For this reason, the National Domestic Workers Alliance is calling for people across the country to mobilize "like never before" for planned nationwide protest against the Trump administration's family separation policy on June 30. Ms Anne Heaney, 74, a retired teacher, held a sign that read: "Children do not belong in cages".

Flores v. Reno also requires officials to release immigrants under 18 "without unnecessary delay", meaning if they were not going to be prosecuted - and they had a family member to stay with - they could not be kept in a detention facility with their parents for long periods of time. The families are mostly from Central American countries.

Other reports by GizPress

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