The Biden administration is considering detaining illegal migrant families after criticizing a similar program under the Trump administration, according to The New York Times.
The possible policy change would mean the Biden administration might be reversing course on its promises to end many Trump-era immigration policies, according to the NYT. Nothing has been finalized, a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The Biden administration has also changed its tune on Title 42, a Trump-era policy used to quickly expel certain illegal migrants. It recently added Venezuelans, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Overwhelmed Northern Border Agents Are ‘Counting Down The Days Until Retirement,’ Union Chief Says)
“No decisions have been made as we prepare for the Title 42 Public Health Order to lift. The Administration will continue to prioritize safe, orderly, and humane processing of migrants,” the DHS spokesperson said.
During his presidential campaign, then-candidate Joe Biden criticized family detention and promised to end it.
“Children should be released from ICE detention with their parents immediately. This is pretty simple, and I can’t believe I have to say it: Families belong together,” Biden wrote in a June 2020 tweet.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recorded more than 2.3 million migrant encounters at the southern border in fiscal year 2022. Between October 2021 and January 2023, the number of migrant encounters has already surpassed 870,000.
“Ending the inhumane practice of family detention has been one of the only positive immigration policy decisions of the Biden administration,” Leecia Welch, a lead lawyer in the case that led to the 1997 Flores settlement, which limits the time children can spend in detention and establishes minimum standards for holding facilities, said, according to the NYT.
“It is heartbreaking to hear there could be a return to the Trump-era use of this practice,” Welch said.
The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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