U.S. in disarray over immigration policy as Trump ends family separations but continues detentions

Edited by Pavel Jacomino
2018-06-21 15:28:25

Trump tries to resolve separation of immigrant families.  Photo: AP

Washington, June 21 (RHC)-- U.S. President Donald Trump is coming under fire for his immigration policy despite backing down on a measure that would have seen more families separated at the country's southern border. 

Observers say the Executive Order he signed Wednesday appears like an effort to calm down an international outcry over family separations at the border.  At the same time, many political analysts pointed out that now the policy seems to be detention of both parents and children, locking them up together. 

On Wednesday, U.S. Senate Democrats protested Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policies, warning that his executive order to keep migrant families together will only exacerbate the situation. 

"If you can imagine, what this executive order does is raise the possibility of children being in prison for very, very long periods of time.  Does anybody really believe that we should be imprisoning little children for an indefinite period of time?" asked Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. 

Other Democrats, Jeff Merkley, Amy Klobuchar, Ron Wyden, Tim Kaine, Maggie Hassan, Mazie Hirono, Michael Bennet, Richard Blumenthal, Kamala Harris, Ed Markey and Patty Murray, also slammed Trump by speaking against his immigration policy from the Senate floor. 

The president signed an executive order earlier in the day, requiring that detained immigrant families be kept together "where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources." 

"It sounds like a return to the shameful internment camps of the 1940s during World War II during one of the darkest chapters of our nation's history," Markey said. "It was a mistake that we should not even contemplate repeating."  The Virginia senator similarly slammed the decision, recounting the story of a father who committed suicide while in custody over being separated from his family. 

"As we try to reassemble 2,300 families that this Administration has spread to the winds, there will be at least one three-year-old boy who will not be able to reunite with his father," Kaine said. "I ask this President, I ask the Attorney General, I ask the Secretary of Homeland Security: Was it worth it?" 

Republicans had also called on Trump to reverse his policy as it was turning into a political crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.  In order to tackle the issue, they unveiled a bill that merged some ideas put forth by Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn as well as Senators Thom Tillis, Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton. 

"The idea is to make sure we are bringing people from both sides of the aisle together," said Colorado Senator Cory Gardner. "Family separation, that's what we want to stop. How do we come together as two parties to do that?"  They argued, however, that legislation is still needed to address the overflow of detained immigrants at the border. 

"It would be helpful to codify some of that stuff. I think it eliminates the uncertainty and potential legal challenges," said Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune. 

This is while a Donald Trump rally in the mid-western U.S. state of Minnesota was disrupted by activists outraged over White House policies. 


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