Trump signs order stopping family separation; lawmakers introduce bill

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Republican members of Congress on immigration in the Cabinet Room of the White House, June 20, 2018, in Washington. From left, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Trump, and Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas | Associated Press photo by Evan Vucci, St. George News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bowing to pressure from anxious allies, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending the process of separating children from families after they are detained crossing the U.S. border illegally.

It was a dramatic turnaround for Trump, who has been insisting, wrongly, that his administration had no choice but to separate families apprehended at the border because of federal law and a court decision.

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to keep families together at the border, but says that the ‘zero-tolerance’ prosecution policy will continue, during an event in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, June 20, 2018. Standing behind Trump are Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, left, and Vice President Mike Pence. | Associated Press photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais, St. George News

The news in recent days has been dominated by searing images of children held in cages at border facilities, as well as audio recordings of young children crying for their parents – images that have sparked fury, question of morality and concern from Republicans about a negative impact on their races in November’s midterm elections.

Until Wednesday, the president, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other officials had repeatedly argued the only way to end the practice was for Congress to pass new legislation, while Democrats said he could do it with his signature alone. That’s what he did on Wednesday.

“We’re going to have strong, very strong borders, but we’re going to keep the families together,” said Trump who said he didn’t like the “sight” or “feeling” of children separated from their parents.

He said his order would not end the “zero-tolerance” policy that criminally prosecutes all adults caught crossing the border illegally. The order aims to keep families together while they are in custody, expedite their cases and ask the Department of Defense to help house families.

Justice Department lawyers had been working to find a legal workaround for a previous class-action settlement that set policies for the treatment and release of unaccompanied children who are caught at the border.

Still, Trump’s order is likely to create a new set of problems involving length of detention of families and may spark a fresh court fight.

Sen. Orrin Hatch said in a statement Wednesday that he was among a group of 12 Republican senators who sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions asking for a moratorium on the family separation policy. The letter petitioned the administration to stop enforcement of this policy until Congress can pass legislation to keep families together.

President Donald Trump stands with Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, center, after arriving at the Ronald R Wright National Air Guard Base in Salt Lake City, Utah,, Dec. 4, 2017 | File photo by Scott Sommerdorf/The Salt Lake Tribune via The Associated Press, St. George News

“I appreciate the President’s willingness to listen to us on this issue,” Hatch said in the statement. “We all understand how important it is to enforce our immigration laws, but we also all agree that separating children from their parents is not the right course of action.”

Senate Republicans introduced legislation aimed at keeping migrant children with parents being held after illegally crossing the U.S. border.

Under the seven-page measure, children under age 18 would be kept with their families in residential centers during legal proceedings. Facilities would have to be “secure and safe.” Children would be separated from adults who are not their parent or have serious criminal records, or if there is evidence of abuse or trafficking.

The government would prioritize processing such families, and add 1,000 additional beds and 225 immigration judges.

“Securing our nation’s border is among the federal government’s top priorities,” Sen. Mike Lee said, “but we should also never lose sight of the values that make us Americans. The Protect Parents and Kids Act will end the separation of children from their parents while also improving the tools law enforcement agencies need to secure the border and adjudicate asylum claims.

“It is vitally important that the Senate swiftly pass this legislation which will bring great relief to thousands of people on our southern border.”

Trump had tweeted earlier Wednesday, “It’s the Democrats fault, they won’t give us the votes needed to pass good immigration legislation. They want open borders, which breeds horrible crime. Republicans want security. But I am working on something – it never ends!”

The administration recently put into place a “zero tolerance” policy in which all unlawful border crossings are referred for prosecution – a process that moves adults to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and sends many children to facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services. Under the Obama administration, such families were usually referred for civil deportation proceedings, not requiring separation.

The policy had led to a spike in family separations in recent weeks, with more than 2,300 minors separated from their families at the border from May 5 through June 9, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Two people close to Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen said early Wednesday that she was the driving force behind the plan to keep families together after they are detained crossing the border illegally.

One of the people said Nielsen, who had become the face of the administration’s policy, had little faith that Congress would act to fix the separation issue and felt compelled to act. Nielsen was heckled at a restaurant Tuesday evening and has faced protesters at her home.

But others pushed back on the idea that Homeland Security had led the rollback. One official said it was the Justice Department that generated the legal strategy that is codified in the working executive order and disputed the notion that Homeland Security was involved in drawing up the document.

Planning at the Justice Department had been underway over the past several days to provide the president with options on the growing crisis, said the official, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the effort before its official announcement.

The person said Trump called the Justice Department Wednesday morning asking for the draft order. The official did not know what prompted Trump to change course.

The Flores settlement, named for a teenage girl who brought the case in the 1980s, requires the government to release children from custody and to their parents, adult relatives or other caretakers, in order of preference. If those options are exhausted, authorities must find the “least restrictive” setting for the child who arrived without parents.

In 2015, a federal judge in Los Angeles expanded the terms of the settlement, ruling that it applies to children who are caught with their parents as well as to those who come to the U.S. alone. Other recent rulings, upheld on appeal, affirm the children’s rights to a bond hearing and require better conditions at the Border Patrol’s short-term holding facilities.

In 2016, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that child migrants who came to the border with parents and were held in custody must be released. The decision did not state parents must be released. Neither, though, did it require parents to be kept in detention, apart from their children.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, who said he was born into a family with an immigrant father, issued a statement Wednesday in support of Trump’s executive order, calling the immigration system “flawed.”

“I applaud President Trump’s executive order stopping family separations at the border. No one wants to see children separated from their parents.

“It has been obvious for decades and under multiple administrations that our immigration system is flawed. Legal loopholes not only impede moral and pragmatic relocation and residence of families, but also fuel the human trafficking scourge among many vulnerable populations and ages.

“Congress needs to come together, setting aside partisan differences, to close these loopholes immediately and fix the problem.”

Written by JILL COLVIN and COLLEEN LONG, Associated Press

Associated Press writers Zeke Miller, Ken Thomas and Alan Fram contributed to this report.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • ladybugavenger June 20, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Its the right thing to do. Keep them together as as family while detaining them indefinitely. It’s a good thing thing for everyone.

    I have a feeling the uproar will now be, “Set the free” I agree. Set them free back to where they came from and come back legally.

    I’m all for immigration and an easier pathway to come here. But you cant have that, without first securing the border. That’s for all our safety. Think of it as securing your home. How would you secure your home? I lock the doors, I have surveillance cameras, and I have guns.

    Do you leave your doors unlocked?

    • ladybugavenger June 20, 2018 at 4:33 pm

      I have all these things to feel secured, but the truth is, if someone breaks in my house while I’m sleeping, all that stuff means nothing, because I’m dead to the world when I’m asleep. I could be shot dead and never even know it.

      Moral of the story: securing the border wont stop people from entering, if the country is asleep

  • ladybugavenger June 20, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    I dont just let anyone come inside my home and that’s for my safety. I dont want them knowing what I have. Just a select few come over.

    Our border should be treated the same way we treat our homes. Secured!

  • ladybugavenger June 20, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    I have no doubt that Trump would make an easier and faster pathway to citizenship if he can get that wall built. He will never tell you what his plans are. But I have no doubt, citizenship for immigrants would be easier to get if y’all would let him get that damn border secured. Stop fighting against it. On the other side of that wall or fence or whatever it will be is a faster, easier beneficialal pathway to the people that want to be citizens.

  • 42214 June 20, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    A federal judge will rule Trump’s executive order unconstitutional and we’ll be back to square one. The judge should be forced to issue an order prohibiting the enforcement of legitamate laws and let the judge take some accountabilty and responsibility.

    • ladybugavenger June 20, 2018 at 5:11 pm

      Well that would be a shame. A judge should not have that much power.

      • bikeandfish June 20, 2018 at 7:17 pm

        Its the exact reason we have a court system and judges, ie checks and balances on the Executive and Legislative. I’m guessing it won’t be ruled unconstitutional but it could be placed under an injunction until Congress ammends the relevant laws. Ironically this could be in violation of the dissent decree John copy and pasted incorrectly to blame Obama.

        The easy answer was to not enforce a the laws with a “zero-tolerance” policy which is was requires family separation in the first place. There is nothing illegal or ultra-legal about that approach which can’t be said for his ironic use of the executive order (which he said wasn’t possible last week).

  • KarenS June 20, 2018 at 5:50 pm

    So last Friday I heard Trump say on the White House lawn that the family separation catastrophe could not be solved with an executive order. So today, under pressure from all sides, he signs just such an executive order. He decrees that both the children and parents are to be in detention together indefinitely and wants an exception to the 20-day rule about child detention. If a judge does not agree to the indefinite extension then who knows what will happen.

    There is nothing in the order about the 2500 children that have been separated from their parents in the last six weeks. Today an HHS official said it was up to the parents to find their children who have been sent all across the nation. Some parents have already been deported without their children.

    We need immigration solutions and legislation but this episode has been a total disaster. Innocent children are being punished because of a misguided and cruel “zero tolerance” policy.

    • Real Life June 21, 2018 at 12:09 pm

      Innocent children are being punished by their parents dragging them through the desert and attempting to cross our borders ILLEGALLY.

  • John June 20, 2018 at 6:39 pm

    The only reason the separation of children from their parents at the border is an issue is because Russia didn’t work, gun control didn’t work and neither did Stormy Daniels.
    The Democrats need something to distract from their high level crimes and this is just the latest craze!

    • KarenS June 20, 2018 at 7:22 pm

      I am a mother and grandmother. The separation of children from their parents at the border is unbelievably cruel and heartless to innocent children and their parents. It is hardly a “craze” to object to this treatment of children. I am sure that I was not alone in repeatedly contacting my congressional representatives about this policy. Finally, Trump had to cave and sign the executive order to, temporarily, not separate children from their parents. Now we have to reunite these families.

      • John June 20, 2018 at 7:51 pm

        This has been going on since the 90’s.. It’s not new. just more smoke and mirrors.. It’s only in the news now to give liberals something to complain about.. they got nothing.. it’s fixed..hahahaha

        • KarenS June 20, 2018 at 9:16 pm

          Actually, this policy has not been going on since the 90’s. This is new. Under federal law (8 U.S. Code 1325), illegal entry into the United States is a misdemeanor. Up until the “zero tolerance” policy announced and carefully explained by AG Jeff Sessions, it was not a criminal matter. With zero tolerance, EVERY instance of illegal entry is treated criminally. Families became separated as the parent or parents were arrested and jailed. The executive order did not solve the problem, just put a temporary stay on separation of families but puts parents and children together in detention. And still, the 20 day limit about child detention is a problem. No fix.

          • John June 20, 2018 at 10:30 pm

            Yes it has, you pay way too much attention to the MSM.. I feel sorry for you..keep chasing that play right into their hands..

          • John June 20, 2018 at 10:45 pm

            BTW every instance of entering the country illegally is criminal and should be dealt with as such.. always was and always will be. Presently it is only in the news because the left is getting their butts kicked on every other issue, but you won’y hear about it on rachel madcow.

        • No Filter June 21, 2018 at 8:45 am

          There is no federal law that stipulates that children and parents be separated at the border, no matter how families entered the United States. The Trump administration introduced a “zero-tolerance” policy calling for the prosecution of all individuals who illegally enter the United States. An increase in child detainees separated from parents stemmed directly from this change in enforcement policy repeatedly announced by Jeff Sessions in April and May 2018.
          The 2002 immigration law that was signed and people keep saying that the Democrats passed is false. In November 2002 the Majority Party was the Republican with 50 seats, the Minority Party was Democrat with 48 seats, with 2 other party representatives. Beginning on January 20, 2001, Republican Vice President Richard Cheney held the deciding vote, giving the majority to the Republicans. So all of your alternative facts are false.

          • John June 21, 2018 at 11:55 am

            It’s really funny that you need the MSM to tell you what to think..It shows with every inane comment you make cloggy! Clueless cloggy, the PUTZ!

          • No Filter June 21, 2018 at 12:27 pm

            I don’t need the news to tell me anything, all my info came directly from Just so you know that is the United States Senate official website. I’ll leave you the link and maybe you can learn something.
            Happy reading!

          • John June 21, 2018 at 1:51 pm

            That’s the issue, YOU DON”T THINK>>YOU JUST RECITE what they tell you fool…PUTZ

      • 42214 June 20, 2018 at 9:45 pm

        The parents are not innocent and they did this to their children, if the kids are actually theirs.

      • ladybugavenger June 21, 2018 at 7:50 am

        The parents crossing the border with their children put their children in danger. It’s the parents fault. They knew the risk.

        • bikeandfish June 21, 2018 at 10:50 am

          Actually many up until now didn’t know about the policy change. Do you know how long it takes to travel from Central America through Mexico? Most of them, the ones already separated, started the migration before the zero-tolerance policy started in May. And until May we treated asylum seekers with some dignity. Until now there was a chance they could succeed with their expedited immigration hearing and be granted residency. The worst case was they were shipped back home.

          Because of Trump that changed. This is on y’all.

          • ladybugavenger June 21, 2018 at 11:06 am

            No, I have no idea how long it takes to travel that distance. I refuse to go to another country , I have thoughts of the US not letting me back in.

            I havent even traveled to all 50 states.

            Ship them back home. That sounds like a good option.

          • No Filter June 21, 2018 at 12:32 pm

            I don’t think Fox news is widely watched south of the border. So I bet these asylum seekers will still have no clue to our new laws until they reach the border and are told.

          • ladybugavenger June 21, 2018 at 2:32 pm

            I’m sorry, I thought it was illegal to cross our border illegally for decades.

            Did I miss when illegally crossing the border became legal?

            Oh snap! I dont have cable, I watch netflix and an antenna. Bummed roseanne isn’t on
            All my news come from y’all and facebook lol

        • bikeandfish June 21, 2018 at 11:05 am

          PS…the illegal immigration excuse is also full of holes. Its been clearly documented that US and Mexico officials are turning away asylum seekers at legal ports of entry. Trump has made his disdain for asylum seekers clear since taking office:

          “The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility. … Not on my watch.”

          Trump and Congress know they need to fund and staff the border better, including immigration judges, but they don’t. They are exacerbating the problem at most steps.

          So what do you think families who are denied legal entry for asylum do? Do you expect them to just sit and deal with the crime and violence that these migrants experience along the route (well documented as well)? Do they make the hideous journey back to their home countries that were so dangerous in the first place?

          No, they do what any good parent would do in such a time. Desperate times call for desperate measures. They try to enter the country.

        • bikeandfish June 21, 2018 at 11:28 am

          You do realize “shipping them back home” is what was being done before Trump changed policy to “zero-tolerance”, right? The parents would be “charged” with a misdemeanor and the family shipped home. That is assuming if their expedited immigration hearing was negative in offering asylum.

          The problem is the candidate you elected intentionally conflated “illegal immigration” and “refugee” and “asylum seekers”. Your Trump and his administration know the difference but use campaign slogan over-simplification to mislead Americans. He intentionally lumped violent criminals migrating illegally in with families just trying to get away from violence. They aren’t the same but the most compassionate Trump has ever been to asylum seekers is still saying they are “not that good” of people.

          Trump ran a campaign on everything Obama did was bad and he’d do the opposite. But that’s not sound immigration policy as we are seeing now. You yourself just admitted you liked shipping them home which is what Obama did before Trump enforced “zero-tolerance”. You like what the right has called “catch and release”.

          Here is some foundational education on why asylum seekers are not the same as most “illegal immigrants”:

    • 42214 June 20, 2018 at 7:29 pm

      I wonder if Ms Daniels enjoyed face shots in her acting career?

      • No Filter June 21, 2018 at 12:15 pm

        Something I am sure the LDS men on here can answer, since they all seem to have porn addictions.

        • John June 21, 2018 at 12:25 pm

          You should know clueless cloggy, the PUTZ!

    • Chris June 20, 2018 at 8:04 pm

      If that’s the case, then why did Trump contradict himself and change the policy with an executive order? A couple day ago, he said that the problem could only be corrected by Congress and that the policy resulted from decisions made under Democratic presidents, and you defended him. Both he and you have come out of this looking like complete fools.

      • John June 20, 2018 at 8:29 pm

        Actually you are the fool chrissyboy..hahahahaha! all liberals are losing fools.

      • ladybugavenger June 21, 2018 at 8:01 am

        Nothing has been fixed with this executive order, so what he said wasnt a lie.

        Too many people want open borders.the only fix the pro open border people want is open borders. They will fight and fight against securing the border.

        I voted for tru.p to secure the border, if he cant get a wall paid for than the alternative was the zero tolerance policy.

        The parents put their children in this mess. Follow the laws.

  • bikeandfish June 20, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    Will be interesting to see how this plays out policy wise and if its challenged.

    • jaybird June 20, 2018 at 8:15 pm

      Moron Trump and his incompetent unprincipled staff/cabinet. This EO doesnt account for the more than 2000 children kidnapped by this immoral government to get them back to their parents. Everyone knows how well the foster care program works. Then Cory Lowendowsky mocks a “whaa whaa” about a seized down syndrom child. These are the examples of our new Trump party aka the GOP, totally uncivilized, unprepared and insensitive to the plights of vulnerables.

      • John June 20, 2018 at 8:30 pm

        go clean your cell jailbird.. your’e useless

        • jaybird June 20, 2018 at 8:46 pm

          Toilets like you smell and sound like the contents of swirling in you head. You ARE Trump.

        • John June 20, 2018 at 9:24 pm

          I wouldn’t be so proud about jail time, jailbird, your’e useless. Go clean your cell then it’s lights out little man! hahahahahaha! How’s that cell mate big bubba been treating you? need lotion?

  • jaybird June 20, 2018 at 9:10 pm

    Hey BTW I thought Mexico was going to pay for the wall, now Trump wants the US to budget in $28 billion for it.

  • utahdiablo June 20, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    As to the Wall, Mexico will pay for it as in We the US Taxpayer not having to continue to pay so much as we do now to run these illegals through the justice system and long term Prison as well as more Anchor Babies costing us K-12 education and all related costs to raise that child on welfare….as to the new Immigration bills ( 2 ) coming up in the House Of Reps? We shall see what they hold as Ryan was cutting them to pieces as of late today…We have to stop chain migration, start E verify, build the Wall, and have a Merit based system..

    • bikeandfish June 20, 2018 at 10:51 pm

      E-verify has been used for years.

      Mexico has not been the principle source of illegal immigrants for several years. Mexico will not pay for the wall AND this zero-tolerance policy is already costing us more, ie its cheaper and more humane to not criminally prosecute those seeking asylum than to put them in jail.

      • ladybugavenger June 21, 2018 at 8:12 am

        It’s not about Mexicans, it’s about illegal immigration, from all countries. They arent coming from the Canadian border, just sayin’

        • bikeandfish June 21, 2018 at 10:17 am

          The poster made a reference to Mexico, hence my comment.

          And yes, illegal immigrants do come from Canada and their border. We’ve known of that for years. Last # I saw is we have roughly 100,000 illegal Canadian immigrants in the US. Thet just normally look more like us so they get the benefit of the doubt.

          • ladybugavenger June 21, 2018 at 11:13 am

            I googled it after I posted my comment.

  • Rafiki June 20, 2018 at 10:44 pm


    ‘Yay…………..i voted for this…………i love’s it!!!……….sssssss

  • commonsense June 21, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Since incarceration for crimes began centuries ago, criminals were separated from the children.
    The best way to keep,families together is obey the law.

    • bikeandfish June 21, 2018 at 10:11 am

      But where your logic fails is that not all illegal activity is prosecuted or sentenced with incarceration. Incarceration is new in this case because of Trump’s zero-tolerance policy.

      We regularly don’t jail non-violent criminals. They often go home to their families after booking and never see jail time.

  • jaybird June 21, 2018 at 7:49 am

    Meanwhile Trump, a billionaire, spends millions of our $ on security details, golfing at Mari Lago and his stupid rallies every weekend. Dumb.

  • jaybird June 21, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Trumpers are so easily fooled.

    • John June 21, 2018 at 9:48 am

      the only fool around here is you, jail turd

    • John June 21, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Liberal democrats are the fools…here’s the democrats plan You won’t hear this on MSNBC or CNN…Schumer has instructed fellow Democrats not to pass any legislation that could possibly help the children at the border, stating that “It will help voter turnout in the midterms” & “that CNN/MSNBC had agreed to help the Democrats with the narrative.. Keep chasing that carrot you sheepish social justice warriors..hahahahahahahahahahaha!

  • ladybugavenger June 21, 2018 at 2:52 pm

    I feel like I’m missing something when someone’s the illegal immigrants didnt know.

    How did they not know illegal? I call BS on y’all saying they didnt know.

    Now, if you all said, they didn’t know they weren’t going to get away with it. I can believe that. The previous President set it up for them to believe they would get away with it.

    • ladybugavenger June 21, 2018 at 2:52 pm

      *when someone says

    • bikeandfish June 21, 2018 at 4:14 pm


      At moments you are close to understanding the facts but then you go off the rails with a post like this.

      A). Obama “charged” most of these parents with a misdemeanor and sent them back to their home countries if they didn’t qualify for asylum. You are parroting untruths and propoganda about “the previous president”. He was known as the “Deporter In-Chief” by immigrants because he deported more people here illegally than any other POTUS, and I think that record still stands against Trump.

      B). The “they didn’t know” is about the change in administrative policy to “zero-tolerance” which is what kicks in family separation. Enforcing the law doesn’t require separating the parents from their kids. That only happened when Trump ans Sessions chose to incarcerate them as a detterent. I’m guessing most know they are engaging in illegal activity once they try to cross at a non-legal port. But you are conflating two different statements with your recent comment.

      C). Please take the time to truly educate yourself about the details. Fixating on a few key words like “illegal” is a product of propoganda not a true understanding of American civics. If we expect our federal government to solve this problem then citizens like you need to be better informed. Maybe then you’ll see few citizens want “open borders” and limitless immigration.

      • ladybugavenger June 22, 2018 at 7:21 am

        This whole world is off the rails.

        Crossing illegally is crossing illegally. I dont how you think it is not.

        • bikeandfish June 22, 2018 at 9:45 am

          Most of us are just willing to see context and understand the world is not binary.

          The only part of the world that is off the rails is when folks like you refuse to show compassion to refugees fleeing for their lives.

  • commonsense June 21, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    Let’s simplify the illegal immigration issue. Democrats are constantly trolling for voters and they feel that illegal immigrants who are mostly Hispanic, are likely to vote Democrat so they want to open the gates. Trump is concerned about national security so he wants to enforce current immigrantion laws.

    Having said that, this family separation issue is a smoke screen for the greater breaking news concerning the DOJ, FBI and CIA under Obama, all of which makes Watergate seem so trivial.

    • bikeandfish June 21, 2018 at 6:49 pm

      Of course, because no one is sincerely concerned about humanitarian treatment of migrant families. I see the light now. ?

      Per your first statement, the illegal immigrant voting claims are the stuff of conspiracy theories.

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