Trump Administration: Some Children to Be Reunited With Families

U.S. first lady Melania Trump listens during a roundtable meeting at the Lutheran Social Services of the South

Trump's order said the government would maintain a "zero tolerance" policy toward those who break the law, but the senior U.S. official, asked to explain how the government would change enforcement practices, said Border Patrol agents were instructed Wednesday evening to stop sending parents with children to federal courthouses for prosecution.

Reyna Torres Mendivil, Mexico's consul general in San Antonio, told NPR's Audie Cornish that the process would be hampered by the USA separation process, which keeps parents in federal custody while moving children into facilities controlled by the Department of Health and Human Services.

"The main thing Trump is saying is he wants to obey the law, and the law has been passed years ago", said Mary Broecker, a Republican voter from LaGrange, Kentucky.

Speaking before a Cabinet meeting, Trump said, "I signed a very good executive order".

California leaders argued that the president's order traded one dehumanizing system for another, while doing nothing to reunite the thousands of kids who've been separated with their parents. Those people were not authorized to speak publicly and commented only on condition of anonymity.

"We want security for our country", Trump said. "They also put a bag over your head".

Democratic mayors and other leaders traveled to the border to step up pressure on the White House over its hardline immigration policies, and the Justice Department went to court in an attempt to overturn a decades-old court settlement that limits to 20 days the amount of time migrant children can be locked up with their families.

Melania Trump made an unannounced trip to the border city of McAllen to meet with staff members at a detention facility for minors and asked about their work and the treatment of children.

That move could lead to new legal battles for the administration. "This is an area where Congress should act, we should have common ground", said Sen.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the policy separating the children from their parents is wrong.

And officials said the cases of the children already separated and turned over to their custody would proceed as usual.

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"A person's dignity does not depend on them being a citizen, a migrant, or a refugee".

But Trump's order, which was meant to relieve a deepening humanitarian crisis on the border, only seemed to raise additional questions about how the policy would be implemented and who would be covered by it.

"We're going to have strong, very strong borders, but we're going to keep the families together", said Trump, who added that he didn't like the "sight" or "feeling" of children separated from their parents. The agency later walked back the statement but said any further plans to reunite families were still in development.

Supporters said they believed Trump and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's false claims that they had no choice but to enforce an existing law. And he said Trump was simply being Trump.

In recent weeks the number of migrants arrested along the Mexico border has declined slightly, according to the latest enforcement data.

There were some early signs that prosecutors at the border with Mexico were showing more leniency. About 15 percent of those are arriving as families, and eight percent as unaccompanied children.

The zero tolerance policy, with mandatory separation of children from adults, was announced on May 7 as a deterrent. The settlement was later modified to say that children should not be held longer than 20 days.

Also still before the courts is his stalled attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, former President Barack Obama's effort to shield from deportation certain people brought as children to the United States by undocumented immigrants. "Not only are they being separated from their family, they are being transported to a place that they don't know in the middle of the night", Hannah Mills, who supervises a foster care program for Bethany Christian Services, told the paper.

The Trump administration began drawing up plans to house as many as 20,000 migrants on USA military bases, though officials gave differing accounts as to whether those beds would be for children or for entire families.

Kay Bellor, vice president for programs at Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, among the largest refugee resettlement agencies in the US, said: "While children will no longer be ripped from the arms of their parents for the sole objective of deterring immigration, they will go to jail with their parents".

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