Published: Fri, June 22, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Trump signs executive order to end family separations at border

Trump signs executive order to end family separations at border

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would sign something "pre-emptive" soon to solve the problem of immigrant families being separated at the U.S. southern border, which has sparked outrage in the United States and overseas.

That means without further action from Congress or the courts, the Trump administration could be forced to again separate the immigrant children from their parents in three weeks.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement on Thursday it was taking "immediate steps" to implement the president's order and reunite the children with their parents.

The spectacular about-face comes after more than 2,300 children have been stripped from their parents.

"For the minors now in the unaccompanied alien children program", Wolfe told POLITICO, "the sponsorship process will proceed as usual". "There's a new issue every week".

"Today, in 2018, the government is creating unaccompanied minors by tearing them away from family at the border", Favreau said.

"And the last thing we want to do is have an incentive for illegal immigration and open borders".

One potential obstacle to reuniting families is poor record-keeping. Though the parents may be exempt from criminal prosecution for now, a senior Justice Department official told Politico that the policy was still in place.

"I rang and rang and they never answered, I never heard from my son".

"You're either going to prosecute them and separate them, or you're not, and then you're returned to the idea of what the president calls 'catch-and-release.' You either release them into the United States, which President Trump is not going to do, or you have them agree to immediate deportation", Townsend said. Children don't belong in jail at all, even with their parents, under any set of circumstances. It also instructs the Defense Department to provide or construct facilities to house the families.

Pressed on the option to use executive action, Trump said "you can't do it through an executive order".

Tyler Houlton, a DHS spokesman, said the administration "will do what is possible to hold illegal border crossers accountable while also holding families together as long as the law allows". Trump's executive order calls on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request to modify the Flores settlement. Any children were sent to be cared for in separate facilities.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have supported proposals to upgrade law enforcement infrastructure at the U.S. -Mexico border and increase manpower. "What efforts are made to ensure that there is consistent and persistent contact between the child and the parent who is in custody facing prosecution?" she asked. But even that handoff could present difficulties.

But with two-thirds of the public saying they opposed breaking up families, and religious leaders including Pope Francis calling it morally unacceptable, Trump changed his mind.

The Trump administration still faces legal challenges because of a court order that put a 20-day cap on how long immigration authorities may detain minors, and trigger fresh criticism of Trump's hardline immigration policies, which were central to his 2016 election campaign and now his presidency.

One former DHS official said the department's operational staff is "tremendously resilient" and will quickly develop an implementation plan.

Speaking outside of the federal courthouse, Olivares said the 17 likely would be placed in immigration detention. "Yeah, they'll figure it out".

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