Families Won't Be Separated At The Border, For Now. Is This Actually An Immigration Victory?

By: Kayla Pasacreta

Trump signing today's executive order, photo via  New York Times

Trump signing today's executive order, photo via New York Times

Following massive weekend backlash to his ‘zero-tolerance’ policy that led to the separation of immigrant families, Donald Trump now plans to sign an executive order to temporarily detain immigrant families together. Videos released over the weekend showed immigrant children, some as young as babies, pleading for the parents. Unsurprisingly, the issue sparked outrage across the world, propelling a condemnation from even Pope Francis.

Before we get into this...WTF IS THIS POLICY????

Back in May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that all adults who crossed the border illegally would be criminally charged at the border, causing them to be held in federal jails while they await trial. This policy inevitably causes the separation of children from their parents; as parents cannot obviously not bring their children to jail with them. After families arrived to Customs agencies, children would be separated from their parents - typically under the pretense of getting a bath - and the separation would begin, with the parents having no further knowledge of the whereabouts of their children for possibly months at a time. 

This tough policy was intentionally made to deter any illegal crossing. After all, what penalty is tougher than being separated from your kids?

A day after tweeting that Democrats want to “infest” the country with immigrants, Trump announced plans of a new executive order that will bring compassion. Trump says the order will bring security and compassion, “We will have that (security) as the same time we have compassion ... I’ll be signing something in a little while that’s going to do that.” Just last week, Department of Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen claimed that only Congress could stop the family separation.

Trump does not actually need an executive order to undo the policy – a simple phone call would end it. So, why he is planning to sign one? Essentially, the executive order is a massive victory for Trump – he gets credit for ending a policy he originally started, and forces Congress into bringing forth immigration bills that can include border funding.

The executive order makes way for an even more intense political debate surrounding immigration. Trump’s signing of an executive order can easily create a legal frenzy that is mostly likely guaranteed to be challenged in court. There, his administration will have to provide a strong legal argument that assures the judge that the immigration policy is in fact abiding by the legal constraints and standards for the correct treatment of immigrant children in custody.

The immigration battle is expected to get even more partisan, as the immigration issue is now ramping up attacks from both parties. The House of Representatives will vote Thursday on two immigration bills.


Kayla PasacretaComment