Trump says US policy separating migrant families is law. It's not

MISSION TX- JUNE 12 A boy and father from Honduras are taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents near the U.S.-Mexico Border

After listing his demands in any immigration bill, he added "Go for it!" His comments reflect how politically poisonous the issue has become, as photographs and news articles circulate about the effects of the practice. But when it separates families at the border? The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention issued statements critical of the practice.

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who delivered a prayer at Trump's inauguration, signed a letter calling the practice "horrible".

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Some 1,500 boys are being held in a former Walmart supermarket in Texas, and the government is erecting tent structures near the border to house the increasing number of migrant children, including unaccompanied minors, in custody.

Trump has steadfastly tried to deflect blame for the separation of children from their parents, consistently dissembling about why it is occurring. The figure is the only one released by the goverment.

With the crackdown in full swing, the detained parents are "in jail settings", a DHS official said, awaiting adjudication and possible prosecution for crossing the border. "The thinking in the building is to force people to the table".

Children would be separated from their parents if the families had been apprehended entering the country illegally, John Kelly, then the Homeland Security Secretary, said in March 2017, "in order to deter more movement along this terribly unsafe network".

The stories that have filtered out in recent days are too painful to dwell on: a baby ripped from its mother's breast; exhausted parents who can hear their children screaming in another room; asylum seekers too distressed to give an adequate account of themselves in subsequent court hearings. "It's an effort to extort a bill to their liking in the Congress".

Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change! "She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart".

The fate of that bill is unclear, as the White House has sent mixed messages on whether Trump supports it or an alternative, more conservative immigration measure also expected to receive a vote. "And I don't see how you do that without having a suite for every self-described family unit".

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"Democrats are good at only three things, High Taxes, High Crime and Obstruction", Trump said, using the argument to promote Republican candidates ahead of the November midterms.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said earlier this week that executive, not legislative, action is key in ending the "barbaric" policy.

In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the US would prosecute anyone found trying to cross the border illegally, meaning that parents crossing with children would be detained and their children placed in USA custody. Those migrants had avoided detention during the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. But there is no law mandating that children be separated from their parents. "It was de facto open borders". The Evangelical Immigration Table, a group of Evangelical religious organizations including the National Association of Evangelicals and Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, has written to Trump asking to "resolve this situation of families being separated" by reversing the zero-tolerance policy, stating, "the state should separate families only in the rarest of instances".

Some senior officials think Democrats will be pressured by the policy to cut an immigration deal.

"This administration has made it clear that we are not going to ignore the law any longer", the official said.

Others have argued that the main benefit of the policy is deterrence.

"Look, I hope that we don't have to separate any more children from any more adults", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last week.

New immigration legislation introduced by House Republicans Friday does nothing to change the policy.

"I certainly don't want anybody to use these kids as leverage", she said on NBC's Meet The Press.

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