President Donald Trump signed an executive order on 20th June that halts his administration’s family separation policy for families who have crossed the US-Mexico border illegally.
The executive order seeks to work around a 1997 consent decree that bars the federal government from keeping children in immigration detention – even if they are with their parents – for more than 20 days. The executive order instructs the attorney general to seek federal court permission to modify the consent decree.
The crisis was spawned when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy for border crossers. Under the policy, adults would be charged with a felony rather than a misdemeanor for crossing the border. Under federal statute, those charged with felonies cannot have their children detained with them.
The government earlier in June said 1,995 minors had been separated from 1,940 adults who had crossed the US-Mexico border, although some minors had crossed without their parents or adult kin.
The policy and its upshot stirred some of the most hostile reaction yet of any Trump initiative.
Picture: President Donald Trump is seen with with Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Vice President Mike Pence at the White House on 20th June prior to signing an executive order to halt the separation of families. (CNS photo/Leah Millis, Reuters).