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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Trump signs decree not to separate migrant families

Por DamianToo

Bowing to the pressure of anxious allies, President Donald Trump signed an executive order last Wednesday that ends the separation of families who are arrested entering the United States without authorization. It was a drastic turn for Trump, who has wrongly insisted that he has no choice but to separate the families because he is bound by the law and a court ruling.

In the news of recent days have prevailed the images of children locked in cages on the border, and audio recordings of children who cry and cry for their parents. The images have caused anger, questions about morality and concern of Republicans about the negative impact on midterm elections in November.

Until Wednesday, the president, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and other officials had reiterated that the only way to end the separations was through a new law passed in Congress, but Democrats insisted it could be done with the signature of Trump. That's what he did on Wednesday.

"We are going to have very, very secure borders, but we will keep families together" Trump said, adding that he did not like the "image" or the "feeling" of children separated from their parents.

He added that his order would not end the "zero tolerance" policy that prosecutes adults who are detained while crossing the border without authorization. The order aims to keep families together while they are detained, speed up their cases and ask the Department of Defense to help host families.

But under a previous agreement that was reached after a class action lawsuit in which rules were imposed to attend and release children captured at the border, families can only be detained for 20 days. An official from the Department of Justice said that has not changed. "It's a temporary measure", said Gene Hamilton, adviser to the attorney general. The agency's lawyers planned to challenge the agreement, known as the Flores agreement, and ask a judge to allow families to be detained until the criminal and deportation proceedings are completed.

So Trump's order will probably generate a series of new problems and could start a new battle in court. It is not clear what happens if no changes are made to the law or agreement for when families reach the limit of detention. Trump's decree also allows separating children from parents if it is best for the child's welfare.

And it did not do much to alleviate the collective indignation either. The Southern Poverty Law Center of Alabama said the order was not enough for anything. "The government still plans to criminalize families, including children, by holding them in detention centers that look like jails", President Richard Cohen said in a statement.