Trump’s Order Only Protects Against Family Separation For 20 Days

Cheryl Sanders
June 23, 2018

In the face of mounting bipartisan criticism and amid heartbreaking tales of toddlers kept from their parents, President Donald Trump reversed a policy Wednesday that he first said only Congress could solve.

According to a White House official, US first lady Melania Trump "has been making her opinion known" to her husband that he needs to do whatever he can to keep families of migrants together. Trump is seeking to have the settlement overturned, but his Justice Department said Wednesday that the 20-day policy essentially remains in effect until Congress or the courts take action to change that.

It has been a bad thing for the families torn apart, and some of them, it is becoming frighteningly clear, may never recover, may never be brought back together again. She was at a meeting Wednesday between Trump and lawmakers at the White House.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who became the face of the family separations with her combative press briefing Monday, began to have second thoughts of her own. He announced the postponement as he sat down at the White House with Republican members of the House and Senate.

When Trump reversed course amid worldwide outrage and signed an executive order on Wednesday to end forced separations on his own, they shrugged and blamed Congress.

The executive order does not address the uniting of families already separated - and existing policies place the onus on parents to find their children in Department of Health and Human Services custody and seek to reunite with them.

Trump's "zero tolerance" policy refers all apprehended undocumented adults for criminal prosecution - a break with past administrations that limited criminal referral for most adults who illegally crossed into the USA with their juvenile family members. Under the Obama administration, such families were usually ordered back to their home country but not charged as a criminal.

But on Capitol Hill, executive action is not the same as a legislative fix. But he didn't provide details on any plans to unite separated families.


"We will have the greatest borders, the greatest walls", Trump told a cheering crowd.

The vote Thursday - and the rarity of discussing such a broad immigration package on the House floor - reflected how much the GOP has changed over the last few decades on immigration.

Ryan told reporters he prefers to see parents and children detained together in custody, as the GOP bills would codify into law.

United chief executive Oscar Munoz said: "We want no part of it". "It's about keeping families together, while at the same time being sure we have a very powerful, very strong border", CNN quoted Trump, as saying.

Immigrant advocates say the president's executive order is no solution and will only create more trauma for children because they will be placed in facilities that are unfit for minors.

In a statement, the president of the organization, Richard Cohen, said indiscriminate enforcement is "shattering" communities across the country.

As Gutierrez spoke, his microphone was cut off because the gathering in the chamber was considered a breach of decorum.

Trump has come under increased pressure not only from critics but even from those in his coalition of voters, such as evangelicals.


"But Congress still needs to act because what they're doing, while very humane, violates something called the "Flores Settlement", which means someone's going to take this to court and they're going to get it thrown out", he said.

In the Oval Office, Trump said he had also heard from his daughter and aide, Ivanka Trump, about the policy. "It's about keeping families together", Mr Trump said at the signing ceremony on Wednesday.

Trump then accused rival Democrats of putting "illegal immigrants before they put American citizens".

Theirs is narrow legislation proposed by Sen.

The executive order also calls for the prioritisation of immigration cases involving families and directs the administration to expand family detention capacity. About 15 per cent of those are arriving as families, and 8 per cent as unaccompanied children. Facilities would have to be "secure and safe". Depending on the availability of space, his order does not indicate whether children will continue to remain separated from their parents while additional facilities are being built.

Now the fight will probably move to the courts, with legal challenges to the administration's decision to hold detained families together while their immigration status is adjudicated.

The kitchen-sink approach comes as Democrats work to sustain the energy of the Trump resistance heading into this fall's midterm elections when the GOP's House and Senate majorities are at stake.


Other reports by iNewsToday

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