Published: Sat, June 23, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Trump backflips on separating migrant kids, families

Trump backflips on separating migrant kids, families

While liberal critics have expressed frustration that she has not done more to temper her father's conservative agenda, Ivanka Trump has made clear that she sees limitations to her role. Those defections - almost 1 in 5 GOP lawmakers - underscored the party's chasm over immigration and the election-year pressures Republicans face to stay true to districts that range from staunchly conservative to pro-immigrant.

Neither House bill appears to have the votes to pass.

"I don't think they have figured out what the legal consequences might be of trying to keep the parents together with the children indefinitely", said Representative Carlos Curbelo, a member of Trump's Republican party, after the meeting.

The president who had declared as a candidate that "I alone can fix" the nation's problems in recent weeks threw up his arms and said only Congress could solve the problem of children being separated from their parents - and then reversed course once again.

And in a tweet that seemed to undermine House leaders' efforts to round up votes, he questioned the objective of their legislation by suggesting it was doomed in the Senate anyway.

The crisis was spawned when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "zero tolerance" policy for border crossers. While the parents often entered a guilty plea and took the "expedited removal" option in the hope they would be quickly reunited with their children, this was often not the case. "I was not put in a freezing cell".

For now, she said, "people are doing what they've been doing".

On 20 June 2018 Trump signed an executive order to end the policy of separating children.

Democrats oppose both measures as harsh. "It may be a compromise with the devil, but it is not a compromise with the Democrats". The swift turn of events is leading to new questions about the advisers who encouraged Trump to hold the line, even as his staunchest protectors urged him to change course.

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"What is the objective of the House doing good immigration bills when you need 9 votes by Democrats in the Senate, and the Dems are only looking to Obstruct (which they feel is good for them in the Mid-Terms)", Trump tweeted. He said if Republicans can't get it done, "you end up looking like the gang that can't shoot straight". Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has set up a hotline for parents to call after they are released from custody.

The country had shown a great deal of pressure from human rights organizations.

Passage was always a long shot.

Talks between the U.S. and China have escalated in recent days, with a White House official accusing Beijing of "theft" and them accusing the USA of "blackmail".

The most glaring deficiency of the President's executive order was that it stunningly did nothing for more than 2,300 children already separated from their parents, some of whom have been held in cage-like conditions or have been sent to facilities around the country. It did so by eliminating the 20-day cap on holding minors and allowing indefinite detentions. The text of the EO encourages Congress to act upon legislation that will maintain family unity so that the Administration will not need to separate families to enforce the law. If the new policy is rejected by the courts, which the administration acknowledges is a possibility, the debate could move back to square one.

"So we're going to have strong, very strong borders, but we're going to keep the families together", he added, according to pool reports.

Rather than help push the bill to the finish line, Trump's mixed messages reinforced his role as an unreliable partner for House Republicans in the immigration debate.

The policy and its upshot stirred some of the most hostile reaction yet of any Trump initiative. The program is temporarily still in effect, pending further federal court action.

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