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Trump administration weighs new family separation policy at the U.S.-Mexico border

Trump administration weighs new family separation policy at the U.S.-Mexico border

Temperatures at the border can reach 110 degrees in summer endangering the lives of immigrants trying to cross illegally the border. Border Angels, a non-profit organization, regularly organizes a distribution of water in the desert areas trying to face this situation. Border Angels / Facebook.

BINARY. As the number of migrant families entering the country illegally jumped in recent months, a new policy would give parents choice according to The Washington Post but that could conduct to separation with their children after 20 days. 

By Marie Le Blé ...
Created : Oct. 12, 2018, 4:08 PM - Modified : Oct. 13, 2018, 10:11 AM

The White House is considering a change in policy that could again separate parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the number of migrant families entering the country illegally has soared in recent months, according to a report in The Washington Post

The administration is considering the change as the number of migrant family members arrested and charged with illegally crossing the border jumped 38 percent in August and is now at a record level, according to Department of Homeland Security officials.

One policy being discussed would give parents a choice if they are arrested at the border. The families would be detained together for 20 days, but parents would then have to decide whether to stay in a detention center for months or years awaiting an immigration trial, or allow children to be taken to government shelters while other relatives try to seek custody for them.

"Prevent child smuggling and stop drug cartels"

According to The Washington Post, this option is being called the "binary-choice."

“Career law enforcement professionals in the U.S. government are working to analyze and evaluate options that would protect the American people, prevent the horrific actions of child smuggling, and stop drug cartels from pouring into our communities,” deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement emailed to The Washington Post.

The separation of families became a political crisis for the administration earlier this year after children were taken from their families as part of President Trump's "zero tolerance" policy.

Amid criticism of his administration's immigration policies, President Trump signed an executive order in July to end family separations at the border, which included detaining families as a way to keep them together.

The family detained together

The option to give families a choice about staying together was endorsed by the Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union in a court filing in July.

The motion stated that if parents chose to stay with their children, they would waive the child's "rights with regard to placement in the least restrictive setting appropriate to the minor's age and special needs." 

If parents did not make any decision, the motion said that the government would keep the family detained together. 

A question of space

These rights were enumerated in the 1997 settlement Flores v. Reno, which administration officials wanted to modify to allow for family separations. Justice officials argued that the settlement limited the detention of children to 20 days, meaning that they could not be kept with their families. However, a federal judge rejected this request in July.

With the "binary-choice" option, even if parents sign a waiver allowing their children to be taken, lawyers have questioned whether it would be legal.

There is also a question of space as the administration seeks spots for an increasing number of people being detained.

 

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