Trump reverses on family separations


Reyna Torres Mendivil, Mexico's consul general in San Antonio, told NPR's Audie Cornish that the process would be hampered by the US separation process, which keeps parents in ICE custody while moving children into facilities controlled by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Immigrant children are shown outside a former Job Corps site that now houses them, in Homestead, Florida, June 18, 2018.

She said that she was told the separation would last a week, but about a month later, she has yet to see her children.

It is unclear what will happen to the children already separated, though some DHS officials have suggested there is no provision for including them in the ruling.

The proposal, one of two immigration bills scheduled for a floor vote Thursday, involved no input from Democrats, but was hashed out between centrist and conservative Republicans who have long feuded over the appropriate legislative approach to those people living in the country illegally.

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"I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated", Trump said in signing the measure.

President Trump has wisely moved to stop separating families at the border, but that won't remotely end the immigration wars - and may not even mean a permanent end to this dust-up.

"The dilemma is that if you're weak, as some people would like you to be, if you're really, really pathetically weak, the country's going to be overrun with millions of people", Trump said on Wednesday, explaining his internal debate, "and if you're strong, then you don't have any heart". Party leaders, including Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, have lobbied lawmakers this week in hopes of securing their support for the legislation.

A third defendant said she fled Guatemala with her 9-year-old son after being threatened with violence and crossed the border near Presidio, Texas, on May 14, where they were arrested.

It would also provide $25 billion in funding for Trump's much-promised border wall, change the existing visa lottery into a merit-based system and provide a path to citizenship for the young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. The group also filed a class-action suit in February in San Diego federal court over family separation of individuals seeking asylum and the judge set a hearing for Thursday to discuss the new White House executive order.

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Hundreds of immigrant parents like Morales are crossing into the US without proper authorization unaware that the process to seek asylum now also includes temporary loss of their children.

"Right now we have the lawful authority to detain a family unit together for up to 20 days", Hamilton told reporters on a conference call following the signing of the order.

An earlier report from Fox News Channel said the Trump administration was considering an executive order that would allow immigrant families who cross the border illegally to stay together longer than is now permitted.

"I signed a very good executive order yesterday but that's only limited", he said. Also, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and the heads of other agencies are ordered to find or construct facilities to house the detained families.

Almost all of the families, and many others, have officially requested asylum, citing the incessant violence in their home countries.

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Most adults who enter illegally through the busiest span of the border - the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas - are sentenced to time served.