Trump’s Order Only Protects Against Family Separation For 20 Days


Trump's "zero tolerance" policy refers all apprehended undocumented adults for criminal prosecution - a break with past administrations that limited criminal referral for most adults who illegally crossed into the US with their juvenile family members.

"For those children still in Border Patrol custody, we are reuniting them with parents or legal guardians returned to Border Patrol custody following prosecution", a CBP spokesperson said in the statement.

US President Donald J Trump on Wednesday said he will use his existing executive authority to address family separation of illegal alien border-crossers. Trump added that he did not like the "sight or feeling" of families being separated, Sputnik reported. 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.

But it's not clear when - or if - at least 2,300 children taken from their parents under the prior policy will be reunited.

As distressing images and audio of bereft children emerged, Trump found himself lobbied privately by his wife and elder daughter to do more. The administration's policy threatened lawmakers seeking reelection in the upcoming midterm elections in November. The Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center said the order didn't go almost far enough.

There is concern that the changes don't go far enough, allowing children to still be held in detention, even if they remain with their families.

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During the course of the week, governors of the US states of Colorado, Maryland, Rhode Island and NY ordered their state assets such as National Guard personnel or equipment be refrained from being used to support the Trump administration's mission to secure the US-Mexico border.

However, the effort to keep families united would be accomplished in a way that does not seem like a humane solution. "This is a stopgap measure", said Gene Hamilton, counsel to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

But Republicans on the committee defended the measures, saying they would secure the borders while still leaving the US with some of the most liberal immigration laws in the world. Also, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and the heads of other agencies are ordered to find or construct facilities to house the detained families.

Ivanka Trump had reportedly advised her father as to the negative image being created by the pictures of the separations, and used Twitter to welcome the signing of the executive order. In many ways, it marked a new political low point for the Trump administration, which had vowed the day before not to bend to political pressure. If it means the government is willing to hold people in immigration detention instead of turning them over to be held in criminal custody while the charges are pending, it has the potential to mean the government would not have to detain them separately from their children.

Sessions, who announced and defended the "zero-tolerance" policy over the course of the past month, is already Trump's most hated Cabinet official for his recusal from the Russian Federation investigation.

The immigration lawyer was referring to Trump's bid to impose a travel ban on immigrants from five Muslim countries in addition to Venezuela and North Korea.

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A White House official said first lady Melania Trump had been making her opinion known to the president for some time that she felt he needed to do all he could to help families stay together, whether by working with Congress or acting on his own.

"If our Republican colleagues, and the Republican leadership in particular, want to solve this problem, they ought to be directing their attention to the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House because that's where it can get done, done well, and done quickly", he said. Neither is the long-term plan for families who are detained jointly. At the same time, we are keeping a very powerful border and it continues to be a zero-tolerance. He called on the administration to end the policy and stop criminalizing asylum seekers.

The executive order was a rare instance of the president retreating from a decision, and he sought to tamp down any suggestion of having done so.

The move reverses a tough policy under heavy pressure from his fellow Republicans, Democrats and the global community.

"We're going to keep families together, but we still have to maintain toughness or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don't stand for", Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.

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