US Officials Not Able to Carry Out 'Zero-Tolerance' for Migrant Families

01 July 2018, 12:33 | Isaac Mcdaniel

David J. Phillip AP

U.S. Customs and Border Protection talks with reporters at the U.S. Border Patrol Central Processing Center

The bill would have addressed a variety of lingering immigration issues, from ending family separations to Trump's border wall to a solution for almost 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children whose deportation protections were terminated by Trump.

Weissert reported from Harlingen, Texas. But that's not just as a result of Trump's now-suspended zero-tolerance policy.

The order responds to a class-action lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of families separated at the US-Mexico border, including those who presented themselves a ports of entry.

Details were sketchy, but it was likely the first lady would visit an immigration processing detention center, which was part of her plan after visiting the McAllen detention center last Thursday before flooding stopped her from going.

Vice President Mike Pence who was in Brazil on Tuesday has warned undocumented immigrants not to "risk the lives of your children" by trying to enter the United States illegally.

The order stems from a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of San Diego in February 2018, months before Attorney General Jeff Sessions formally announced the beginning of a "zero-tolerance policy", requiring U.S. attorneys at the border to charge and prosecute people arriving at the border with illegal entry and reentry. Many parents are in custody thousands of miles from their children, whom they have not been able to see and have rarely spoken to for a month or more.

The Democrat signed the legislation at a community college in the Bronx on Wednesday, a day after a federal judge ordered immigrant families separated at the border to be reunited.

"This clear call for an end to the constitutionally-guaranteed right to due process is symptomatic of an administration that disdains both the Constitution and our judicial system, and would subject those who cross our borders to the whims of unaccountable officials acting on the twisted logic of white supremacy and racism", Nihad Awad, CAIR national executive director, said in a statement.

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"Speaking at a school-safety conference in Reno, Sessions cast the children as victims of a broken immigration system" and urged Congress to act. There was no mention of Trump himself by name, but said the US should show its mortality "through our policies, our laws, our actions and our votes".

He told the audience that lax border enforcement would "encourage more adults to bring more children illegally".

The children are now being held by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of HHS.

"According to Judge Sabraw, the injunction will uphold "[immigrants'] rights to family integrity and association while their immigration proceedings are underway".

The policy, initially defended aggressively by Trump and his allies before wide criticism made him reverse course, has split more than 2,000 children from their immigrant parents in a span of less than two months. Rights groups have vowed to challenge any policy that detains families together for more than 20 days - the time allowed by the courts to hold children in immigrant detention centres. He also noted that "the relationship between parent and child [] is constitutionally protected and well established".

A mother from Guatemala wiped tears from her eyes Monday as she told reporters in El Paso, Texas, about her 4-year-old son being taken away after they crossed the border.

Many activist groups, USA lawmakers and other Americans have criticized the family separations.

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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