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Trump forced into migrant U-turn

23 Juin 2018

After facing mounting pressure for an immigration policy that separated children from their parents at the USA border, President Trump signed an executive order that sought to end the policy Wednesday, effectively allowing families to remain together in custody. "They are seeking asylum alleging persecution in India, and it would be absurd for the Indian government to help them establish that", said a former Indian immigration official who did not want to be identified.

Trump's opponents, however, were not satisfied with the executive order, asserting that this was not enough. They were trying to persuade colleagues to seize the moment and tackle immigration problems by approving the bill, which includes $25 billion for Trump's border wall and a path to citizenship for young immigrants who have lived in the USA illegally since childhood.

Marjorie Meyers, the chief federal public defender in southern Texas, said her office had received no information about how the order would play out.

Under a previous class-action settlement that set policies for the treatment and release of minors caught at the border, families can only be detained for 20 days. But it was not clear if, when, or how that might happen. They were included in a federal civil rights lawsuit with a half-dozen sworn statements from Latino youths held for months or years at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center. Tomorrow? "We'll find out".

Mayor Bill de Blasio said after touring the center Wednesday that among the children was a 9-year-old boy from Honduras who had been sent 2,000 miles to the facility on a bus after being stopped trying to enter the USA with his family.

And on Wednesday New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was "shocked" that 239 migrant children had been sent to a single reception centre in Harlem without the knowledge of the city authorities. Even that decision was made last minute; moments before he called off the event, White House cooks were still busy grilling steaks in preparation for the event.

When asked for clarification on the issue, an ACF spokesman told The Post that "It is still very early and we are awaiting further guidance on the matter". "Reunification is always the ultimate goal of those entrusted with the care of [unaccompanied children], and the administration is working towards that for those [unaccompanied children] now in HHS custody".

The plain truth is that the Trump administration considered the breaking of families to be one of the features of its policy on illegal migrants.

The departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to HuffPost's requests for clarification on Wednesday.

He again placed blame for the separation of children at the border on the Democrats, having earlier claimed that "they won't give us the votes needed to pass good legislation". "We don't want that", he said.

"We expect the House to act this week".

It added: "Jailing parents and children is not a solution - it's posturing meant to deflect from the real issue". "We do whatever is in the best interest of the country".

Temporary immigrant shelters at military bases could be opened by next month.

Trump's wife, Melania Trump, in private conversations with the president, urged him to do something to end the humanitarian crisis, a White House official said.

Meanwhile the Senate is working on a narrower compromise bill focusing on the family separations. Before his U-turn on Wednesday the president had previously said "you can't do it through an executive order", insisting that only Congress could fix the policy by passing immigration reform.

The government has already faced withering critiques over images of some of the children in cages inside U.S. Border Patrol processing stations.

Die-hard supporters of Donald Trump say they remain steadfast despite an uproar over his "zero-tolerance" policy on illegal immigration that led to the separation of some children from families.

But then he tweeted on Thursday that whatever passed in the House was surely dead in the Senate because Republicans have just 51 votes, not almost enough to clear the 60-vote threshold to get past a Democratic filibuster.

"What is the goal 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 wrote.

Still, Republicans were decidedly on the defensive for most of the past week on an issue that could have lasting impact on the political battlefield in 2018 and beyond.

But Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said it would not work to keep families out of detention either.

Mexico's bishops likewise decried the policy. But the order does not address families already separated by the policy. In Mexico, coverage was overshadowed by the soccer team's upset win over defending world champion Germany in the World Cup.

Trump forced into migrant U-turn