Trump’s Executive Order Reversing Immigrant Children Separations Does Not Address 2300 Already Separated From Parents
Although Trump, his administration, his pundits, and his supporters are hailing Trump the hero for reversing his own policy of separating immigrant children from their families after crossing the border, the executive order does not nothing to address the 2300 children that are already being held separated from their parents in detention centers across the country. In addition to the order not addressing these children at all, the Trump administration is utterly clueless on how or if they will be dealt with.
HHS spokesperson Kenneth Wolfe stated on Wednesday, “For the minors currently in the unaccompanied alien children program, the sponsorship process will proceed as usual,” generally suggesting that nothing will be done. Later on Wednesday, HHS Family Divisions spokesperson Brian Marriott stated that Wolfe “misspoke,” and added vaguely, “It is still very early and we are awaiting further guidance on the matter.”
Adding to the chaos following the executive order is the Flores vs. Reno court decision which requires that the federal government do two things for children of detained illegal immigrants: to place children with a close relative or family friend “without unnecessary delay,” rather than keeping them in custody; and to keep immigrant children who are in custody in the “least restrictive conditions” possible. The deadline for either or all of the above is 20 days.
Republicans in Congress have proposed legislation that would overrule Flores and allow children to be kept with their parents in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody while they are put through criminal prosecution and deportation proceedings. Many migrant families fight deportation by claiming asylum in the US from abysmal conditions in their native Central American countries or origin, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. This is a legal process that can stretch out for months or years.
Complicating matters is that Republicans currently are not willing to deal with Flores vs. Reno as a stand alone matter, but instead be one component of a larger, sweeping immigration reform bill. Congress is currently stuck in a grid lock on immigration before even leaving the House, with immigration hardliners in the House Freedom Caucus opposing another more moderate “compromise” bill. It is largely believed that even the more moderate bill should it pass the House as it currently stands may be dead on arrival in the Senate where a 60 vote majority is necessary for passage.