Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

Virginia among 18 states to sue over Trump administration family separations

U.S. Customs and Border Protection talks with reporters at the U.S. Border Patrol Central Processing Center David J. Phillip AP
Lance Thomas | 01 July, 2018, 00:32

After falsely blaming Democrats for the separations and insisting that only Congress could fix the issue, the president last week issued an executive order created to end the practice under his "zero tolerance" policy, which prosecutes adults who come to the USA illegally.

Weissert reported from Harlingen, Texas.

Mr McAleenan maintained that the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" tactics were still in effect, although the commissioner's guidance to his agents largely leaves the policy in limbo. "They don't care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13".

"We're not changing the policy", she told reporters.

Immigrant Elyse Hernandez, from Honduras, right, waits with her daughter Genesis, center, and son, Jorge David, left, inside the bus station Saturday, June 23, 2018, in McAllen, Texas.

"And to watch those families broken apart in real time puts to us a very simple question: are we a nation that accepts the cruelty of ripping children from their parents' arms, or are we a nation that values families, and works to keep them together?" asked Obama.

The United States' top border enforcement official acknowledged Monday that authorities are now not able to carry out the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy of detaining and prosecuting everyone entering the country illegally, as officials work to develop a policy that would allow prosecutions without family separations.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said that the situation with separated migrant families had "reached a crisis level".

"The unfortunate reality is that under the present system migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property", wrote the judge, noting that immigrants are given receipts for confiscated goods or cash, but not so much as a chit for a wailing child hauled off to who knows where.

U.S. border agents have "taken children as young as infants from their parents, often with no warning or opportunity to say goodbye, and providing no information about where the children are being taken or when they will next see each other", according to the complaint.

"Speaking at a school-safety conference in Reno, Sessions cast the children as victims of a broken immigration system" and urged Congress to act.

United States media earlier reported that one of the bases would be used to house migrant families and the other would shelter undocumented children who enter the USA unaccompanied by an adult. He said Trump's order and other federal officials' reactions "belie measured and ordered governance, which is central to the concept of due process enshrined in our Constitution".

About half were from Guatemala, and 23 of the children had been separated from adults who accompanied them across the border. After a few days, Ms. L's 6-year-old child was taken from her mother, "screaming and crying", and sent to a Chicago shelter more than a thousand miles away; Ms. L and her daughter were separated for five months and only spoke by phone six times.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sought a federal court injunction in San Diego, California, on Monday to stop the administration from separating undocumented immigrant parents from their children.

After Mr. Trump's executive order last week stopping separations, the Border Patrol no longer has any option but to stop referrals as well, Mr. McAleenan said, according to The Associated Press. In the case of dividing and traumatizing parents and children, that threshold has been crossed. The mom told me that every night her 4-year-old turns to her and says, "Mom, are they going to come and take me away again?"

That's the reality for so numerous families whose plights we see and heart-rending cries we hear.

CBS News, which was allowed to tour the facility, said the commander in charge described the "zero tolerance" policy as "a dumb, stupid decision that should've never happened".

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