President Donald Trump once again weighed in on the controversy surrounding his administration’s policy of separating illegal immigrant families caught at the southwest border, claiming it is the result of “bad legislation” passed by Democratic lawmakers.
“Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats,” Trump wrote Tuesday on Twitter. “Border Security laws should be changed but the Dems can’t get their act together! Started the Wall.”
Separating families at the Border is the fault of bad legislation passed by the Democrats. Border Security laws should be changed but the Dems can’t get their act together! Started the Wall.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
A complex mix of federal statutes and court decisions guides the detention of migrant children and their parents, leading to widespread confusion about what the law requires. But Trump is mistaken. There is no law — passed by Democrats or Republicans — that mandates parents must be separated from their children at the border.
In fact, the reason there has been a surge in the number of migrant families separated at the border is because of the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy toward people who enter the U.S. illegally.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions rolled out the new enforcement strategy in early April, instructing federal prosecutors in border states to aggressively pursue violations of 8 USC 1325, the federal statute covering improper entry by an alien. Although he did not specifically mention separating families, Sessions warned that illegal immigrant parents with children in tow would not be given an exception.
The number of unlawful entry referrals from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) accepted by federal prosecutors began to rise sharply almost immediately after Sessions’s order. Prosecutors accepted 8,298 unlawful entry case referrals in April, about 30 percent more than the 6,368 they took on in March, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). (RELATED: Prosecutions Of Illegal Border Jumpers Surged In April After Sessions Issued ‘Zero Tolerance’ Order)
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