President Trump helps vulnerable Republicans, but immigration fight likely still looms

President Trump helps vulnerable Republicans, but immigration fight likely still looms

Former President Barack Obama joined the national conversation about the Trump administration's policy of separating immigrant children from their parents, writing Wednesday that the "cruelty" of such actions is un-American.

U.S. President Donald Trump has signed an executive order ending his policy of taking migrant children away from their parents at the border.

The move reverses a tough policy under heavy pressure from his fellow Republicans, Democrats and the worldwide community.

US Customs and Border Protection said on Tuesday that 2,342 children had been separated from their parents at the border between May 5 and June 9.

Those youngsters would remain separated while their parents were under federal custody during immigration proceedings, according to The New York Times, before officials backed off those comments late Wednesday. And officials said the cases of the children already separated and turned over to their custody would proceed as usual.

"Reunification is always the ultimate goal", he said.

Migrant families from Mexico, fleeing from violence, listen to officers of the US Customs and Border Protection before entering the United States to apply for asylum at Paso del Norte worldwide border crossing bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on June 20, 2018.

"This is particularly important to me (...) We do not like to see separated families", said the Oval Office the USA president by signing the decree.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ran for president in 2016 and may do so again, lashed out at the Trump administration's family separation policy as a "human rights violation" that's doing lasting damage to the families involved.

At a later campaign-style rally of supporters in the northern state of Minnesota, he reiterated that the change does not mean a softening at the border. "But we will be saving a tremendous amount of money, plus I think it's very provocative", Trump said.

For weeks, Trump had insisted he was bound by law to split the children from their parents and that only Congress could resolve the problem - before he radically shifted gears.

First lady Melania Trump weighed in more quickly, with her office issuing a statement over the weekend saying she "hates" to see families separated at the border. "We are keeping families together", he said. "And we will have that - at the same time, we have compassion".

The president directed Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to maintain custody of detained families during criminal proceedings and as their asylum claims are adjudicated. It did so by eliminating the 20-day cap on holding minors and allowing indefinite detentions.

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One of them said Nielsen, who had become the face of the administration's policy, had little faith that Congress would act to fix the separation issue and felt compelled to act.

Niurka Lopez of MI said Trump's "zero-tolerance" policy made sense because her family came to the US legally from Cuba and everyone else should, too.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Council of Europe and Pope Francis all took issue with the "zero tolerance" policy.

After a downturn a year ago, since October, the number of migrants seeking to cross the southwest United States border from impoverished Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, as well as from Mexico, has surged.

"This has been going on for 50 years, longer".

What they didn't know, apparently, was that the policy would horrify their own people; that Americans would recoil in shock from the images of a bawling child alone among uniformed agents.

Almost all of the families, and many others, have officially requested asylum, citing the incessant violence in their home countries.

The crisis was spawned when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "zero tolerance" policy for border crossers.

"Putting children in the same cages as their parents isn't a solution", said Jose Servin, an activist with the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance.

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. Under law, children entering the U.S. alongside adults fall under the Office of Refugee Resettlement's care while those criminal cases are pursued.

Whether the bill passes will be up to some of Trump's closest conservative allies in Congress, a direct reflection of whether members believe they can trust him to spend his own political capital and shield them from any backlash they may face from the base.

But Democrats and rights groups were immediately critical of the plan to change the Flores Settlement.

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