The Trump administration implemented new policies on Wednesday in an effort to end the "catch-and-release" of family units entering the country illegally or applying for asylum.
In the past, the Department of Homeland Security has only been able to detain and process families together for 20-days. After that, they've been released into the United States and become unlikely to show up for immigration court dates months or years later. That practice is changing and DHS will now hold family units together, without separating children from parents, until their immigration hearing and full processing.
"Large numbers of alien families are entering illegally across the southern border, hoping that they will be released into the interior rather than detained during their removal proceedings. Promulgating this rule and seeking termination of the FSA (Flores Settlement Agreement) are important steps towards an immigration system that is humane and operates consistently with the intent of Congress," DHS released in a statement. "The requirements that help ensure that all alien children (both accompanied minors and unaccompanied alien children) in the Government’s custody are treated with dignity, respect, and special concern for their particular vulnerability as minors."
Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan is stressing the new policies will keep families together. The Trump administration has been harshly criticized by Democrats for separating children from "parents," who are often adults posing as family," in order to detain them past the 20 day maximum.
“Today, the government has issued a critical rule that will permit the Department of Homeland Security to appropriately hold families together and improve the integrity of the immigration system,” McAleenan said. “This rule allows the federal government to enforce immigration laws as passed by Congress and ensures that all children in U.S. government custody are treated with dignity, respect, and special concern for their particular vulnerability.”
McAleenan also discussed the move on Fox News earlier today.
Democrats are already reacting to the move, calling it "disgraceful."
This is disgraceful. https://t.co/2PmxnMW7D6— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) August 21, 2019