Trump says he will sign something 'pre-emptive' on immigration

Arturo Kim
June 22, 2018

An end to family separations at the United States border may be in sight after President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he will take action to keep parents and children together.

Former president Barack Obama broke his silence on Wednesday - World Refugee Day - on immigrant families who have forced to be separated when entering the country at the southern border.

Neither Obama nor Democrats created Trump's zero-tolerance policy, which calls for every illegal border crosser to be prosecuted and leads to their children being detained in separate facilities before being shipped to a shelter and eventually a sponsor family. Federal agencies are working to set up a centralized family-reunification center in Port Isabel, Texas, the official said, and it isn't clear how numerous 500 children are still being detained with their families.

Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen briefed lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday, and those on the fence over pending immigration legislation headed to the White House to meet with Trump.

He also said he would be canceling the congressional picnic scheduled for Thursday because it didn't feel right to go on as scheduled. Existing policies place the burden on parents to find their children in Department of Health and Human Services custody and seek to reunite with them.

The effort would mark a dramatic departure for an administration that has been insisting, wrongly, that it has no choice but to separate families apprehended at the border because of the law and a court decision. We can either release all illegal immigrant families and minors who show up at the border from Central America or we can arrest the adults for the federal crime of illegal entry.

And daughter Ivanka Trump tweeted, "Thank you @POTUS for taking critical action ending family separation at our border".

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He said the Democrats are outraged over family separation, because they want to return to the harmful "catch and release" policy. The president had not yet signed the order , but said he would before leaving on a trip to Minnesota Wednesday afternoon.

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"As I said last week, we do not want children taken away from their parents". If children are to be sent here he should demand paperwork connecting those children to a parent somewhere.

It also directs the Department of Defence to take steps to house detained immigrant families as needed.

One of them said Nielsen, who had become the face of the administration's policy, had little faith that Congress would act to fix the separation issue and felt compelled to act. 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.

Trump has signed an executive order to end the policy that he implemented previously, but the actual effect on the ground remains to be seen.

The White House may run into legal difficulties if the executive order requires families to be held intact together indefinitely since a federal consent decree known as the Flores settlement says children must be released after 20 days.

Trump's decision came after sustained bipartisan criticism, including from former first ladies who spoke out Monday.

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