Barack Obama Rebukes Trump's Separation of Immigrant Families

Minnie Murray
June 22, 2018

US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would sign something "pre-emptive" soon to solve the problem of immigrant families being separated at the US southern border, which has sparked outrage in the United States and overseas.

Sessions and the administration altered how it would prosecute immigrants who illegally crossed the southern border rather than going through a regulated port of entry.

"Tomorrow the House will vote on legislation to keep families together".

Nielsen was reportedly headed to the White House Wednesday and the drafted order would ask the Department of Defense to aid in the housing of the immigrant families.

"Basically you can only hold people for 20 days so it keeps the families together for at least that period of time while we hopefully get a legislative fix", said Representative Mark Meadows, chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, after the briefing.

Former US President Barack Obama called Wednesday for an end to the separation of migrant children from parents at the US-Mexico border, saying the "cruelty" of the practice was contrary to American ideals.

The crisis has reached the point that the usually silent first lady Melania Trump and former first lady Laura Bush have joined the public pushback.

McClatchy reported Thursday that the Obama administration also separated families who were detained at the border.

Mrs. Bush from a safe retirement perch was more direct: "I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our worldwide borders, but this zero-tolerance policy (on undocumented entry by children) is cruel". Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said his department will start reuniting detained immigrant children with their parents - but he made no specific commitment on how quickly that can be accomplished.

The effort would mark a dramatic turnaround for an administration that has been insisting, wrongly, that it has no choice but to separate families apprehended at the border because of the law and a court decision.

He explained the true nature of the journey of minors from Guatemala, Honduras and other Central American nations, explaining that border agents go into the field with toys, clothes and food - purchased with their own money - to try to help the children they find.

Mr Trump met behind closed doors with several members of his party earlier this week, with insiders reporting he was aware of the political damage the border policy was causing.

Meantime, the Justice Department sought to modify a federal court order that limits USA officials' ability to detain immigrant children longer than 20 days. Other recent rulings, upheld on appeal, affirm the children's rights to a bond hearing and require better conditions at the Border Patrol's short-term holding facilities.

Trump campaigned on stopping illegal immigration and has fiercely defended his administration's actions. The decision did not state parents must be released.

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