DHS: Nearly 2,000 Children Taken Under Trump’s New Border Policy

Saul Bowman
June 17, 2018

The comment prompted widespread confusion among lawmakers, not least because House Speaker Paul Ryan told his colleagues earlier this week that Trump supported the middle-ground package and White House aide Stephen Miller, an immigration hardliner who has been accused of trying to sabotage immigration deals in the past, told conservative lawmakers at a closed-door meeting that Trump backed that plan.

The compromise bill would end the practice of separating families at the border and provide legal protections to so-called Dreamers, immigrants brought to the US illegally as children, including a pathway to citizenship for at least some of them.

Amid outcry over the detentions, a Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) spokesperson insisted the minors were held in decent conditions.

"If one presents at an actual border crossing, and presents a case to come into this country, one is not arrested and one's children are not separated from them", he added.

Amid the crackdown, the detained parents are "in jail settings", the official said, awaiting adjudication and possible prosecution for crossing the border. The official says the process can take several weeks. "That's their law", he said, provoking an uproar from reporters.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the legislation "nothing more than a cruel codification of President Trump's anti-immigrant agenda that abandons our nation's heritage as a beacon of hope and opportunity". "I certainly wouldn't sign the more", he replied, being cut off by the anchor, but mimicking his description of the compromise measure.

Before the on-the-record statement, the White House official told CNN on Friday after the tweet that Trump did indeed support the House compromise immigration bill, despite saying otherwise in the morning. Yet scuttling the bill could turn off independent voters, an especially important bloc for House Republicans competing in dozens of districts that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential election.

One White House official reportedly emailed The Hill, "Yes, we fully support both the Goodlatte bill and the Leadership bill".

Passage of the bill could alienate conservatives and depress turnout at a time when enthusiasm among Democrats is high.

Later on Friday, Trump tweeted: "Any Immigration Bill MUST HAVE full funding for the Wall, end Catch & Release, Visa Lottery and Chain, and go to Merit Based Immigration".

"The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their awful and cruel legislative agenda".

Trump stressed he opposes the separations.

President Trump called out NFL players who "take a knee" during the national anthem Friday, saying their protests "aren't a real issue" and asking them to submit names for his team to review for pardons.

The "forced family breakup" policy Trump was referring to is one enforced by his own administration, specifically the zero-tolerance policy Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in May.

Whereas angered protesters rallied at airports after Trump's first iteration of the Muslim-majority country travel ban, and internet users submitted public comments to the FCC supporting net neutrality, impeding the separation of families and holding the door open for vulnerable asylum-seeking immigrants feels far less actionable.

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