Moms breastfeed in front of ICE headquarters to protest Trump immigration policies

Glen Norman
June 23, 2018

The policy, introduced in May by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, caused widespread outrage in the United States this week after pictures of children being separated from their parents and placed in detention were splashed across the media.

Under the Trump administration's separation system, parents who are prosecuted and held in immigration detention to await deportation can not regain custody of their children. Under that policy, the administration has sought to prosecute as many border-crossing offenses as possible, including those involving families with children.

"So we will be officially postponing the congressional picnic for tomorrow".

Trump said the executive order is about keeping families together while at the same time making sure that they have a very powerful and strong border.

Under the "zero-tolerance" policy, anyone who crosses the U.S. border faces criminal prosecution, meaning parents are sent to jail while their children are put into government custody.

The Trump administration is now seeking to amend an existing decree known as the Flores settlement in an effort to allow families to be detained together indefinitely (currently children can not be detained longer than 20 days). Chinese social media users are scratching their heads over a "Chinese proverb" US President Donald Trump's daughter and advisor Ivanka posted to Twitter as her father prepared for his summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un.

If the president goes through with the signing, "It would be a complete 180".

It's unclear what will happen to the families that have already been separated after Trump signs the order.

The order says the Department of Homeland Security - and not the Justice and Health and Human Services Departments, as under previous policy - would have continuing responsibility for the families.

More than 2,300 minors were separated from their families at the border from May 5 through June 9, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Democrats and Republicans are working together to allow families to stay whole, NBC News reports. It says that while the administration will "rigorously" enforce immigration laws, it is "also the policy of this Administration to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources".

The family separation issue has provoked huge criticism of Donald Trump and his immigration crackdown, even from those who are generally on his side with regards to the issue. The number of children separated from their parents and sent to HHS has increased to about70 per day.

President Trump met with House Republicans and essentially told them he would back the GOP compromise bill crafted by leadership and moderates, clearing up a lot of confusion that he caused from last Friday when he said he wouldn't sign it.

Thursday's immigration debate in the House was spurred by another divisive Trump action.

Trump's said the order does not alter the "zero tolerance" policy itself that the administration put in place in April.

More: Fact check: What's really going on with immigrant children being detained at the border?

Children have therefore been taken away and held in detention centres, where they have been photographed sleeping on floors and held in cages.

ICE operates two large family detention centers in Texas and a smaller facility in Pennsylvania, with a combined capacity for about 3,000 beds.

"This isn't who we are", Coffman said.

Both bills include language to end the controversial White House policy of separating migrant parents from their children at the border.

Republican lawmakers emerged from the 45-minute huddle energized that Trump was giving his backing to legislation that House leaders expect to bring to a vote this week. In the order, the president also directs Attorney General Jeff Sessions to file a request in U.S. District Court in California to modify the Flores settlement so that the families could be detained together until their court dates.

The senator's bill would add more federal immigration judges, authorize new temporary shelters to house migrant families, speed the processing of asylum cases and require that families that cross the border illegally be kept together, absent criminal conduct or threats to the welfare of any children.

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