Published: Sat, June 23, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

What's next for migrant families? Detentions continue

What's next for migrant families? Detentions continue

"The president doesn't get any Brownie points for moving from a policy of locking up kids and families separately to a policy of locking them up together", said Karen Tumlin, director of legal strategy at the National Immigration Law Center.

Fiery Democratic leaders from Vermont to New Jersey to Texas met President Donald Trump's executive order to stop dividing immigrant families with deep skepticism, promising waves of protests, border visits and congressional oversight to shine new light on the Republican administration's immigration tactics. It also calls into question numerous administration's recent claims about the basis of the "zero tolerance" policy that was announced by Sessions in April.

They are the first wave of an estimated 2,300 children separated from their parents since early May, who until Wednesday seemed destined to come under the jurisdiction of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Trump said Wednesday that while "we're going to have strong, very strong borders. we're going to keep families together".

Videos of youngsters in cages and an audiotape of wailing children have sparked anger in the U.S. from groups ranging from clergy to influential business leaders, as well as condemnation from overseas. And Ivanka Trump was in California this week, getting heckled on her way to a fundraiser for Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy.

Trump said he didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.

"We're signing an executive order".

Speaking before the worldwide media following the conclusion of the summit, Trump said he will suspend military exercises with South Korea while North Korea works on fulfilling its commitment to denuclearization.

"We have to be very, very strong on the border".

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"I would do nearly anything to deter the people from Central America to getting on this very, very risky network that brings them up through Mexico into the United States", he said. "I think anybody with a heart would feel very strongly about it".

The policy and its upshot stirred some of the most hostile reaction yet of any Trump initiative.

As deflated members of his staff either rush for the exits or distance themselves from his whims, Trump is largely alone.

While the establishment media and Democrats have focused primarily on this tiny sample of child border crossers taken from the adults they traveled across the border with, the number of American children who have been separated from their parents is vastly higher.

Global organizations, human rights groups, and several countries have condemned the practice of family separations.

White House officials, advocates and congressional leaders were blindsided when word emerged that Trump was considering doing precisely what he'd forcefully claimed he couldn't do - act unilaterally to quell a growing humanitarian and political crisis. She told The Associated Press at the time: "There's a special place in hell for people who prey on children".

In a day of confusion and conflicting reports, the Trump administration began drawing up plans to house as many as 20,000 migrants on US military bases. Any attempt by the government to modify the agreement would likely face opposition from the lawyers who negotiated it, according to representatives of immigrant rights organizations.

Democrats expressed concerns Wednesday about President Trump's executive order, which will allow parents who have crossed the US border illegally to remain with their children.

"We are keeping families together".

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The executive order announced a major chance on who will handle detentions. Children don't belong in jail at all, even with their parents, under any set of circumstances. "This is indefinite family detention which has already been tried and we already know it is disgusting".

US Customs and Border Protection have said that 2,342 children had been separated from their parents at the border between May 5 and June 9 this year.

The executive order seeks more authority to detain families together until the end of their immigration proceedings.

Also, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and the heads of other agencies are ordered to find or construct facilities to house the detained families.

The Republican-controlled US Congress is considering legislation to address the issue.

Republicans agreed last week to advance the two bills in response to a bipartisan effort to force a vote on four immigration-reform measures from both sides of the aisle.

"Congress needs to legislate", DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday after meetings on Capitol Hill.

Trump maintained Wednesday that the administration will continue to prosecute all adults who illegally cross into the United States.

House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters that compromise legislation under discussion would provide funding to allow the Department of Homeland Security enough resources to house and care for families as they stayed together during the process.

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