President Trump says he’ll be ‘signing something’ on detained children

Pauline Gross
June 22, 2018

Obama has been the one of the primary targets of blame from Republicans for the crisis that exploded last week after it was announced about 2,000 children had been separated from adults as part of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy. One White House official said Mrs. Trump had been making her opinion known to the president for some time that she felt he needed to do all he could to help families stay together, whether it was by working with Congress or acting on his own.

The results have been heartbreaking.

An official also confirmed that the children already separated won't be immediately reunited with their families. But heartbreak was always the point. Under the Obama administration, such families were usually referred for civil deportation proceedings, not requiring separation. The change reflected a more aggressive stance than previous administrations ever took and meant children would be taken away - and put in federal shelters or foster care around the country - as their parents' criminal cases progressed.

"But we have to do more than say 'this isn't who we are", Obama wrote. Now the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) admits it can not find 1,475 of the 7,635 children it placed with adult sponsors.

The children are largely from Central American countries, where violence and gangs have forced many to flee.

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

The condemnations have crossed party lines, with Franklin Graham, the pro-Trump evangelist son of the late Billy Graham, calling the policy "disgraceful".

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It is unconscionable, unconscionable, that the government of the United States is warehousing babies and toddlers, alone, in an institutional setting, he said. He said separating children was "unacceptable" adding it was "not the way we do things in Canada".

Unlike the 1,475 minors the ORR can not account for, the children now being taken at the border are not unaccompanied. He could have reversed the practice of splitting children from their parents with a phone call. Ryan has stated he does not support separation of families.

Both first lady Melania Trump and Nielsen reportedly had roles in the changing course. When the US-Mexico border was fortified in the mid-1990s under President Bill Clinton in the hopes of making the border more risky to cross, the result was predictable.

She compared the federal border retention facilities to the camps established during World War II where Japanese-American citizens were interned out of unwarranted fear of disloyalty, which she rightly dubbed "one of the most shameful episodes in US history". It was the risky conditions facing migrants within Mexico that the now-infamous caravan, comprised mostly of Honduran refugees hoping to claim asylum in the United States, set out to draw attention to in their first place. With the simple flick of the pen, a simple flick of the pen, the president can end this policy.

Although it ultimately may take a court ruling to stop family separations, it doesn't have to be this way.

Just the day before, Trump had claimed his administration's hands were tied without congressional action. Trump did not even mention the possibility of narrow legislation to deal with family separation, much less broach the idea of ending the crisis by rescinding Sessions's order. For President Trump, however, showcasing the cruelty is the point.

Other reports by GizPress

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