The debate over what to do about the family separations policy that the Trump administration has imposed for those apprehended after crossing the nation’s southern border without documentation or authorization is continuing this week.
As Republicans feel the pressure to stage some sort of significant opposition to the new practice, members of the party in the House of Representatives have reportedly incorporated a measure in one of the immigration policy bills they’re floating that would end most family border separations.
A source explained as follows of the bill the measure was added to:
‘This bill requires [the Department of Homeland Security] to house families together while parents are going through criminal proceedings for the misdemeanor of first-time illegal border crossing… This is a change from current practice which requires [Department of Justice] criminal custody during criminal proceedings, and thus leads to family separation.’
To be clear, there is at present no law mandating that families are separated while proceedings against adults for crossing the border without documentation proceed, despite repeated Trump administration claims to just be following the law.
President Trump — and others in his circles — have placed responsibility for fixing the problem they created on the back of Congress despite that fact, even zeroing in on Democrats. The idea coming from the Trump administration is that Democrats can, in a roundabout way, address family border separations if they agree to some of the tenets of the president’s immigration policy plan. In short, the detained children are being treated somewhat like hostages, intended as a bargaining chip to be offered up in a GOP effort to get Democrats to fall in line.
Not even all of the president’s own party can get on board with that.
The bill being prepared by House Republicans that includes an end to most family separations at the border doesn’t mean they actually will end soon. In addition to the fact that Trump certainly might not agree to sign such a bill, Democrats are unlikely to support it en masse because of provisions like restrictions on legal immigration, which the president and his allies have gone after in the past.
Wrongfully painting the present state of the system to use in immigrating to the United States as a free for all, Trump and his allies have sought to shift the focus of the system away from prioritizing personal connections and the like to prioritizing skills.
He will reportedly be meeting with House Republicans to discuss immigration policy on Tuesday evening, where a finalized version of the immigration bill that now includes an end to family separations will be a focus of attention. Going forward, both the bill in question and the other, harsher GOP immigration bill are meant to be voted on within days.
Over in the Senate, Republicans have also just recently come around to opposing family separations, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announcing Tuesday that the entire Republican caucus supported ending them. That comes after Senate Democrats had made their opposition known for some time and as opposition to family separations continues to build across the board.
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