Can GOP fix immigration amid border crisis — WHAT'S HAPPENING

Geraldine Edwards
June 24, 2018

He didn't know whether they would be reunited with their children immediately or whether they might be released altogether.

Despite the executive order, the Trump administration continued to push Congress for a long-term fix to the border issues.

The move is aimed at stopping the separation of children from their families amid a new policy where anyone caught crossing the border is charged criminally.

The apparent change, which can be reversed, further illustrates the confusion over how to implement the executive order signed Wednesday by President Trump meant to halt family separations at the border.

When Trump reversed course amid global outrage and signed an executive order on Wednesday to end forced separations on his own, they shrugged and blamed Congress. But it would keep families together while they are in custody, expedite their cases and ask the Defense Department to help house them.

Peter Schey, the lawyer in a lawsuit that resulted in a key agreement governing the treatment of migrant children in detention called the Flores settlement, said he was concerned that several thousand children have already been separated from their parents "without the Trump administration having any effective procedures in place to reunite children with their parents, many of whom have already been deported".

TRUMP: "We're keeping families together, and this will solve that problem".

The short answer is: It's too early to tell.

Just in the past few days he had insisted his hands were tied by law on the issue of family separations even though his administration implemented a "zero tolerance" policy.

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The policy had led to a spike in family separations in recent weeks, with more than 2,300 minors separated from their families at the border from May 5 through June 9, according to Homeland Security.

The executive order does not address the uniting of families already separated - and existing policies place the onus on parents to find their children in Department of Health and Human Services custody and seek to reunite with them.

In that program, children typically are connected with friends, relatives or other suitable volunteers to care for them, but in most cases, the children were alone when they entered the USA illegally.

Elsewhere, Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia ordered an investigation into claims by children at an immigration detention facility that they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells.

Later Wednesday, the HHS' families division's spokesman said Wolfe "misspoke".

Reynolds declined to provide details about the three kids who are expected to be reunited with family Thursday.

"Our focus is on continuing to provide quality services and care to the minors in HHS/ORR (Office of Refugee Resettlement) funded facilities and reunifying minors with a relative or appropriate sponsor as we have done since HHS inherited the program". But the programs are hard to navigate, immigrant advocates told CNN, and parents in immigration officials' custody or jail can not receive phone calls.

But he said the "only real solution" is for Congress to close loopholes in the immigration system, saying "If we don't close these loopholes there is no amount of money or personnel in the world".

"I thought the whole point of this was to reunite the kids", John Sandweg said. Their cases are then transferred to ORR under HHS, where they will be found a sponsor to take care of them while their parent is in detention, typically a relative or family friend already living in the U.S. If a sponsor can not be found, a child will be placed into a child detention center, such as the Casa Padre facility in Brownsville, Texas, that reporters got to tour last week.

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The inaction sparked global outrage, including criticism from Pope Francis and opposition from world leaders. Were looking to keep families together.

Trump signed an executive order requiring immigrant families be detained together when they are caught entering the country illegally for as long as their criminal proceedings take. Families who crossed the border illegally would still be subject to prosecution.

The adults will continue to face misdemeanor charges, but will be allowed to go free while they await court proceedings. Government can choose to keep families together and enforce the law.

The Trump administration began drawing up plans to house as many as 20,000 migrants on USA military bases, though officials gave differing accounts as to whether those beds would be for children or for entire families.

"Make no mistake: the President is doubling down on his "zero-tolerance" policy".

There are now far more beds for single adults than for families.

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".

When will their cases be heard in court?

It was unclear how numerous roughly 500 children were still being detained with their families.

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