With a new executive order, Donald Trump puts an end to family separations on the border between the United States and Mexico. He has done so because he faced a lot of public condemnation over this practice that separates the children from their parents.
During the signing ceremony in the Oval Office, Donald Trump was with Vice-President Mike Pence and the Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. The President said: “I consider it to be a very important executive order. It’s about keeping families together while at the same time being sure that we have a very powerful, very strong border, and border security will be equal if not greater than previously. I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”
Even though this is great news for everyone who is trying to enter America at the southern border, Trump will not ease his approach towards illegal immigration. The government officials will still continue with the “zero-tolerance” enforcement policy of criminal prosecution for everyone who tries to avoid the administration. However, the officials will seek to “maintain family unity,” and the parents will be detained together with their children before they are returned home together.
Nevertheless, there will be exceptions. The “alien families” would be detained together “where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.” Due to the executive order, the Attorney General Jeff Sessions has to go to court and ask for a modification to a 1997 court settlement known as Flores. According to this settlement, the migrant children cannot be detained for more than 20 days. With this modified, the children will be allowed to stay with the parents as long as the proceedings last. Should the court deny this request, the immigration activists will most certainly become vocal.
“They are substituting jailing children with their families for separating children from their parents, and that is not any sort of solution to family separation,” said Kate Voigt, an associate director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “The zero tolerance policy remains in effect, and that is the root of the family separation crisis created by the Trump administration.”
Interestingly enough, just a few hours earlier, POTUS insisted that only Congress could solve this problem and he was all for abiding by the law, in other words, separating the children from their parents. Nielsen said on Monday: “Congress and the courts created this problem, and Congress alone can fix it. Until then, we will enforce every law we have on the books to defend the sovereignty and security of the United States.”
In spite of that, Trump chose to act because the distressing images of the detained children kept appearing on TV and the fellow Republicans urged the president to do something. Since the beginning of May, more than 2,300 children are taken at the border with Mexico and separated from their families.
Moreover, Trump has constantly been blaming Democrats for this state of affairs and asked Congress to act. Recently, he said: “The dilemma is that if you’re weak, as some people would like you to be, if you’re really, really pathetically weak, the country’s going to be overrun with millions of people. And if you’re strong, then you don’t have any heart. That’s a tough dilemma. Perhaps I’d rather be strong but that’s a tough dilemma.”
In the mass plea hearing that took place in a federal magistrates court in McAllen, Texas, we saw 74 migrants sat in a room, and most of them were parents who committed no crime in the USA, but they were charged with illegal entry misdemeanor. The men and women will have to serve some time, but Oscar Rox Flores spoke to the judge: “In my case, I am here with my daughter. I want to be deported with her so we can both go home together.” However, Judge Hacker was able to offer no assurances, saying: “I don’t have an answer to that question. Hopefully, there are procedures in place.”
And now, with the executive order, the children will no longer be separated at the border. It was a quick fix, and Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican from Florida supports this idea. He says: “It would be ideal if we could back that up by passing a law that does it so there wouldn’t be a court uncertainty.”
We are now waiting for the court decision. Stay tuned.