On June 20, 2018, Donald Trump signed an executive order aiming to detain immigrant families together, amid a torrid of backlash over his administration’s policy that separated adults arriving at the southern border from the children travelling with them. In the order, the Trump administration has directed that families seeking asylum be detained together when “appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.” He also keeps in place the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting adults who attempt illegal entry into the U.S.
It is unclear how this order would change the treatment or conditions of children travelling with apprehended adults, as several legal and logistical hurdles stand in the way. The Flores agreement, a longstanding federal court settlement, bars the government from jailing migrant children. Any attempt to jail children with the adults would run afoul of this settlement. This executive order also in no way deals with reuniting the two thousand children who have already been torn away from their parents and remain separated. With this order, Trump has instructed the Pentagon to make facilities available for the housing and care of immigrant families and for Congress to “fix this problem”. To learn more about Trump’s changes to immigration laws, please click here.
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