Most vulnerable Republicans in 2018 taking heat over family separation

Hannah Rogers
June 23, 2018

The policy has so far separated more than 2,300 migrant children from their parents, in a chaotic process that places the children in shelters and with foster families across the country, while their parents remain detained.

Anastasia Tonello, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association said the detention of families - parents and children - who pose no flight risk or danger to the community is simply "unacceptable, abrogates global responsibilities to refugees, and goes against our country's most fundamental values".

He said he was looking into whether the court could block deportation of parents until they have been reunited with their children, and whether it could force the Trump administration to reunite those separated. Orrin Hatch of Utah, wrote the Trump administration asking it to pause the separation of immigrant families until Congress comes up with a solution.

Family separation is now a huge issue in the United States, where children have been taken away from their parents as a outcome of the Trump government's "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration.

On Wednesday, Rubio introduced a bill that basically allows people who unlawfully entered to the country to be held together with their children.

The first lady has been working for several days behind the scenes, encouraging the President to keep families together, a White House official told CNN.

Pictures and accounts of the separations sparked outrage and a rebellion among Republicans in Trump's own party, as well as worldwide accusation that the U.S. was committing human rights violations. "But Congress still needs to act because what they're doing, while very humane, violates something called the "Flores Settlement", which means someone's going to take this to court and they're going to get it thrown out", he said. "There will not be a grandfathering of existing cases", Health and Human Services Department spokesperson Kenneth Wolfe said. The House of Representatives is due to vote on an immigration bill later this week that would limit family separations but allocate $25 billion for a US-Mexico wall, which was promised in Trump's presidential campaign. Trump's daughter Ivanka thanked her father on Twitter for "taking critical action ending family separation at our border".

"We should be encouraging families to stay together", Abramson said.

Signing an executive order to reverse his own administration's practice would also be unnecessary since nearly everyone in Washington, apart from the President, agrees that he already has the power to end the separations any time he wants.

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The Trump administration insists the family separations are required under the law.

Leaders in both the House and Senate are struggling to shield the party's lawmakers from the public outcry over images of children taken from migrant parents and held in cages at the border. The number of children separated from their parents and sent to HHS has increased to about70 per day.

Thursday's immigration debate in the House was spurred by another divisive Trump action.

The order does not end the "zero-tolerance" policy that criminally prosecutes all adults caught crossing the border illegally. "And we also add new judges so that we can expedite the hearing they're entitled to, and dispose of their case either by sending them back together as a family or admitting them into the country as a family".

Striking down the ruling became a goal of immigration hard-liners, particularly after a 2016 ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals limiting the government's ability to keep children in detention for more than 20 days. Since early May, 2,342 children have been separated from their parents after crossing the Southern U.S. border, according to the Department of Homeland Security. They may be transferred to detention facilities run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or possibly released with some form of electronic monitoring, such as an ankle bracelet, while pursuing an asylum claim.

Both bills include language to end the controversial White House policy of separating migrant parents from their children at the border.

House Republican leaders and more than two dozen lawmakers traveled to the White House on Wednesday afternoon in hopes of rallying support for broader immigration legislation that appeared short of the votes needed.

"This isn't who we are", he said in a statement.

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