Trump, U.S. Republicans to meet amid furor over family separation policy

Lester Mason
June 20, 2018

The separations are a outcome of a Trump administration policy to maximize criminal prosecutions of people caught trying to enter the USA illegally.

There is no law mandating the separation of children and parents at the border.

Democrats and some in Mr Trump's own Republican Party have strongly condemned the administration.

The president has sought to link an end to the family separations to passage of a wider bill on immigration matters, prompting Democrats to accuse him of using children as hostages.

In April Attorney General Jeff Sessions notified all U.S. Attorney's Offices along the border of a new "zero-tolerance policy" under a federal law that prohibits both attempted illegal entry and illegal entry into the United States by an alien.

Texas GOP Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn are working on separate legislation that would end family separations, detain children together with their parents as they await immigration hearings, and speed up the processing of asylum claims on the border.

More than 2000 children have been separated from their parents at the border in the past six weeks, and distressing images and audio have emerged of youngsters crying for their mothers and fathers. Expanded facilities could be key, as migrant children separated from their parents are now housed by a different department, Health and Human Services.

The family border policies were set by his administration.

France's government spokesman called imaged of the children "shocking" and of the policy that Europe and the United States did not share the same values.

At a detention centre in McAllen, Texas, hundreds of immigrant children were waiting in a series of cages created by metal fencing.

The world heard several desperate, crying children Monday on an audio recording released by the investigative news site ProPublica, with the children pleading over and over to immigration agents to be with their "Mami" and "Papa" as the parents were questioned, detained and eventually split from their children. Reuters could not independently verify its authenticity.

Warren also criticized the White House for not taking action to stop the controversial family separations.

Administration officials have defended the tactic as necessary to secure the border and suggested it would act as a deterrent to illegal immigration - which Trump has long made a key goal of his presidency.

The White House has said it would reject a narrow fix to address children separated from their parents at the U.S. -Mexico border, saying it wants Congress to "fix the whole thing". Details were still in flux.

The Republican president blamed Democrats for not coming to the table to negotiate immigration legislation.

While top officials have also stood by Trump's "zero tolerance" approach, insisting children are being held in humane conditions, criticism has swelled from worldwide rights groups, Christian evangelicals, former United States first ladies and the president's own Republican Party.

Attorneys at the hearings said the immigrants had brought several dozen boys and girls with them to the USA, and the judge replied that he didn't know what would happen to their children. The June 16-19 poll found that 28 percent of people polled supported the policy, while 57 percent opposed it and the remaining 15 percent said they did not know. The church said the move was approved by 600 of its clergy and laity.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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