Trump won't separate children from migrants -- but praises tactic

Minnie Murray
April 11, 2019

With the number of migrants crossing the Mexican border into the USA at its highest for decades, the measure is one of a range of under consideration, including the reintroduction of the widely criticized child separation policy.

"I will tell you something - once you don't have it, that's why you see many more people coming", he said. It was implemented as what Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen called a historic response to a crisis at the southwest border. He complained Tuesday about their refusal to tighten asylum laws, restrict legal immigration by relatives of migrants already here or ban the release of detained migrants until their court dates - a practice used by recent administrations, including his own.

While any appeal against Judge Seeborg's ruling will be heard by the federal Ninth Circuit appeals court - a frequent target of Mr. Trump's ire - Judge Seeborg himself is not on the circuit.

"Try as it may, the Trump administration can not simply ignore our laws in order to accomplish its goal of preventing people from seeking asylum in the United States", she said.

Custom and Border Protection officials had predicted that the number would hit triple figures because of the huge surge of desperate Central American families seeking asylum in the US.

"You have to fix the asylum situation", Trump told reporters earlier Tuesday. The responsibility to care for those migrants while they are processed and screened has forced a massive redirection of Border Patrol agents and resources away from their usual responsibilities for border security.

Immigration court records show the asylum denial rate rose from 21 percent in 2016, the past year of the Obama administration, to almost 47 percent as of January.


Outgoing Department of Homeland Security secretary Kirsten Nielsen had warned that measures such as a revised child separation policy faced significant legal obstacles, leading to clashes with the president and her eventual departure.

"I think that the whole asylum rules, laws, and regulations have been taken advantage of by people that are very bad people, in many cases", Trump said when asked about the binary choice policy for asylum seekers.

But lacking action from Congress, the official said, he expects the new leadership at the Department of Homeland Security to pursue unilateral moves. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have released more than 120,000 into the interior so far this year.

The president called on House Democrats to change the loopholes, which allow unsafe people to get into the U.S. In the Yuma, Ariz., Border Patrol sector alone, there have been more than 450 instances of "fraudulent family units" since October, according to a local spokesman.

One such request that proved to be a point of contention, according to new reporting by NBC News, was over Trump's desire to reinstate the policy of family separations.

White House staffers are understood to have said it would be an unmitigated public relations disaster. The U.S.is also required to allow named plaintiffs of the lawsuit, who were returned to Tijuana, to enter the country within two days after the order goes into effect. The White House did not immediately respond to questions seeking clarity on the commander in chief's comments.

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