Child detainees from border join others sent to Oregon

Michael Candelori  ZUMA Wire

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday ending his administration's policy of separating migrant children from their parents who were detained as they attempted to enter the USA illegally.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is drafting the executive action that would direct the Department of Homeland Security to detain families together after crossing the border without authorization, the Associated Press reports.

And if you're strong, then you don't have any heart.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday that the House would aim to pass legislation Thursday that will "take action to keep families together" while also enforcing existing immigration laws amid growing pressure over the administration's "zero tolerance" policy.

The Trump administration earlier this year began enforcing a policy that separated members of families that cross USA borders illegally. Protesters were galvanized to act after distressing photos and stories hit social media depicting children separated from their parents and sleeping in cages, crammed five in a room at repurposed Walmarts, or in so-called "tent cities" at costs reportedly exceeding what it would take to keep families together.

It will be the new policy of the administration "to maintain family unity" by keeping them in family detention centers, at United States military bases, "where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources".

Family detention surged during President Barack Obama's term when a surge of Salvadoran, Honduran and Guatemalan immigrants raced into the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, fleeing violence and poverty, leading the Department of Homeland Security to significantly increased its capacity to house families. The White House is hoping to get around a 1997 settlement that prohibits the federal government from keeping children in immigration detention for more than 20 days.

Trump had repeatedly defended his immigration crackdown, including forcibly separating migrant children from their parents after they crossed the border.

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.




This is the typical process with executive orders, as it requires a number of moving parts legally and the input of the Office of Legal Counsel.

It will see immigrant families being detained together while their applications are considered and gives priority to cases involving families.

"His goal was not to rip families apart, I think his goal was to make Congress act on immigration reform", Pappas added.

According to the executive order, the Department of Defense will have to provide housing for families on military bases if the Homeland Security Secretary so requests. Over 2,700 children have been isolated from their parents since October, pressuring capacity at facilities amid a crackdown by law enforcement officials.

A member of a migrant family from Mexico, fleeing from violence, looks on while waiting to enter the United States to meet officers of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to apply for asylum at Paso del Norte worldwide border crossing bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico June 20, 2018.

Gene Hamilton, an aide to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, told reporters in a call explaining the order that the Flores settlement put the administration in "an untenable" position. "I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated", said Trump.

The House of Representatives was to vote on Thursday on two bills created to halt the practice of separating families and to address other immigration issues.

In 2015, a federal judge in Los Angeles expanded the terms of the settlement, ruling that it applies to children who are caught with their parents as well as to those who come to the US alone. "But at the same time, we're not sure what that means", said Rep. Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, who this week inspected a detention center at the Mexican border near San Diego. "It was barbaric to separate children from their parents".

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