UPDATE (12:20 p.m.) – President Trump has now confirmed that he will sign executive action today to stop illegal immigrant families from being separated at the border.
The White House will sign executive action to help prevent the heartbreaking and seemingly unnecessary forced separation of families as the Trump’s administration’s “zero tolerance” policy continues to receive widespread rebuke.
“We want to solve this immigration problem which has been going on for fourty years,” Trump said. “We are very strong on the border, we are very strong on security. At the same time, we have compassion. We want to keep families together. It’s very important – I will be signing something in a little while to do that.”
According to Fox News, the action under consideration would allow children to stay in detention with parents for an extended period of time. Currently, as the result of a 1997 court ruling, children cannot be detained for longer than 20 days with adults. But the new action may seek to change this.
The recently instituted “zero tolerance” policy has sparked uproar from both sides of the political divide, as congressional Republicans rush to pass emergency legislation that would prevent huge numbers of illegal immigrants from being separated from the families and held in detention centers along the southern border.
Rep. Peter King of New York has become the latest Republican to join the vast swathes of politicians calling for action. He urged Trump to suspend the family separation policy if House immigration legislation does not pass. King told Fox News that while he agrees with the president’s end goal for curbing illegal immigration, the administration’s current policy of separating migrant children from parents is “really terrible for families.”
“The Democrats do not have a strong policy,” King added. “But at the same time we are playing into their hands by allowing this to happen.”
Over 2,300 minors were separated from their families at the border from May 5 to June 9, according to the Department of Homeland Security. This is because, under the new policy, all those who have unlawfully cross the border are immediately referred for prosecution, causing huge numbers of children to be sent to facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services as their parents are in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.
GOP leaders are desperately trying to piece together a revised immigration bill that would extend the period of time minors can stay with their parents — the 20-day limit would be scrapped, and children would be able to stay with their parents indefinitely, according to a Fox News source.
However, even if the bill passes through the House, it is likely to fail in the Senate. Democrat leader Chuck Schumer has refused to work alongside the GOP on a solution, instead urging Trump to take executive action.
“There are so many obstacles to legislation and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense,” Schumer told reporters, according to The Hill. “Legislation is not the way to go here when it’s so easy for the president to sign it.”
“Let’s hope the president does the right thing and solves the problem, which he can do,” he added. “That’s the simple, easiest and most likely way this will happen.”
(H/T: Fox News)