President signs order to end family separation at the border

Frederick Owens
June 23, 2018

The House killed a hard-right immigration bill, and Republican leaders delayed a planned vote on a compromise GOP package with the party's lawmakers fiercely divided over an issue that has long confounded them. One, a more conservative proposal, is openly expected to fail. Those defections - almost 1 in 5 GOP lawmakers - underscored the party's chasm over immigration and the election-year pressures Republicans face to stay true to districts that range from staunchly conservative to pro-immigrant. "And they are going for the country extremely well", the president said.

A sweeping House GOP immigration overhaul teetered on the brink of collapse Thursday as lawmakers struggled to move past an issue that has become politically fraught amid the dire images of families being separated at the border.

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. He said without it, "you would have a run on this country the likes of which nobody has ever seen". With congressional outcome uncertain - and facing condemnation of the family separations from across the political spectrum - the White House took action. They want open borders, which breeds awful crime.

And in a tweet that seemed to undermine House leaders' efforts to round up votes, he questioned the goal of their legislation by suggesting it was doomed in the Senate anyway.

"We're going to have strong, very strong borders, but we're going to keep the families together", said Trump, who added he didn't like the "sight" or "feeling" of children separated from their parents.

She said that they're generally taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, whose border patrol agents are authorized to police a 100-mile swath of U.S. land from any border, including the ocean. "I was not put in a freezing cell".

The error was soon corrected the White House's website, but not before the gaffe was quickly noted on Twitter.

Miller could also face internal rebuke, people familiar with the matter said.

In federal court filings, immigrant children as young as 14 say they suffered abuse, including beatings while handcuffed, at a juvenile detention center in Virginia.

Currently, if a family has a potentially valid claim of asylum, they could have an immigration court date months or years in the future, during which time they are allowed to live and work in the US.

More news: Obama calls for end to the ‘cruelty’ of family separations

Democrats oppose both measures as harsh. "It may be a compromise with the devil, but it is not a compromise with the Democrats".

Even if Republicans manage to pass one of the immigration bills through the House, it is all but certain to fizzle in the Senate, where Republicans are rallying behind a different approach. He said if Republicans can't get it done, "you end up looking like the gang that can't shoot straight". Trump reversed his own policy amid worldwide fury over the separation of undocumented parents and children. But the programs are hard to navigate, immigrant advocates told CNN, and parents in immigration officials' custody or jail can not receive phone calls.

Brookings Institution senior fellow Bill Galston, a presidential scholar and a Clinton White House official, described it as "classic blame shifting" and said the president was in an "unsustainable position and would like to be bailed out of it without having to admit fault".

Passage of the GOP compromise was always a long shot, but failure may now come at a steeper price. "He's not a monster as he's being framed by the media and by the left", said Trandem, who was a delegate at the 2016 Republican convention where Trump clinched the nomination for president.

Those youngsters would remain separated while their parents were under federal custody during immigration proceedings, according to The New York Times, before officials backed off those comments late Wednesday. It did so by eliminating the 20-day cap on holding minors and allowing indefinite detentions.

Experts argue though Trump is seeking to galvanize his base with hardline law enforcement on immigration, moves like forcing family separations could backfire and hurt Republican candidates' chances in November's midterm elections.

In the meantime, the administration faces ongoing legal challenges.

Trump's order, drafted by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, directs her department to keep families together after they are detained for illegal border-crossing.

Moderate Republicans forced the immigration debate to the fore by threatening to use a rare procedure to demand a vote.

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