#AceNewsReport – June.21: Trump’s climbdown came after he faced intense pressure from across the political spectrum and from religious, political and world leaders to halt the separations, which produced days of heartrending news coverage of crying children — some of whom were kept in cage-like detention centres #AceNewsDesk reports
The President claimed, though, that he isn’t backing down:
“The border is just as tough. But we do want to keep families together,” Trump said in the Oval Office. “We are keeping the family together.”
Earlier Wednesday after a frenzied morning in which he huddled with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other key officials, Trump first flagged his reversal saying, “I’ll be doing something that’s somewhat preemptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation I’m sure.”
Just the day before, Trump had claimed his administration’s hands were tied without congressional action.
“Under current law, we have only two policy options to respond to this massive crisis. We can either release all illegal immigrant families and minors who show up at the border from Central America or we can arrest the adults for the federal crime of illegal entry. Those are the only two options, totally open borders or criminal prosecution for law-breaking,” the President had said.
In the executive order he signed on Wednesday, Trump declared it is his administration’s policy to “maintain family unity,” including by detaining entire families together “where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.”
The order directs other agencies, including the Pentagon, to take steps to find places to house family units.
The order specifies that migrants entering the US with children will not be kept together if there’s a fear for the child’s welfare. Families will also be prioritized in the adjudication process.
Even so, the move is almost certain to face immediate legal action challenging the administration’s authority to keep families detained at length.
The President was not required to sign anything to change the administration’s practice that elicited outrage. He could have reversed the practice of splitting children from their parents with a phone call.
Executive orders typically require input from the Office of the Legal Counsel. The details of the executive order were worked out between the White House, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security, a source said.
The White House may run into legal difficulties if the executive order requires families to be held intact together indefinitely since a federal consent decree known as the Flores settlement says children must be released after 20 days.
The President continued to use tough immigration rhetoric even on Wednesday though, signaling that he is not softening his desire to change the country’s laws more broadly.
“The dilemma is that if you’re weak, if you’re weak, which 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,” Trump said.
“And if you’re strong, then you don’t have any heart. That’s a tough dilemma. Perhaps I would rather be strong, but that’s a tough dilemma,” he said.
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