21 June, 2018
"This policy is relatively new", said Steven Wagner, an acting assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services "We're still working through the experience of reunifying kids with their parents after adjudication".
The measure would also offer protections to another vulnerable group - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients - who are undocumented immigrants brought to the USA as children.
Karla walks with Ruben Garcia, director of the Annunciation House (L) to cross the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry, near El Paso, Texas, to ask for asylum for herself and her children on June 20, 2018 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. There are sometimes 80 of them in the same hearing. At this point, lawyers with the civil rights group often lose access to the detainees.
A member of a migrant family from Mexico, fleeing from violence, looks on while waiting to enter the United States to meet officers of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to apply for asylum at Paso del Norte worldwide border crossing bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico June 20, 2018. "It's a problem that's gone on for many years, as you know, through many administrations".
Doesn't that solve the issue of family separations?
It also suggests the government intends to hold the families indefinitely by challenging an existing statute, the 1997 Flores Settlement, that places a 20-day limit on how long children, along or with their parents, can be detained.
But it's not clear that's working.
Federal officials have set up hotlines and an email contact for parents seeking information about how to find their children. But if a child has been transferred out of a government shelter - including if the child has been deported - agency representatives won't give any information.
"It's a awful thing, the experience we've had", Jocelyn, who was separated from her son for months, told ABC News.
A new report by BuzzFeed News revealed how foreign nationals are now having second thoughts before traveling to the U.S. -Mexico border and crossing illegally with their children thanks to Trump's immigration crackdown.
Trump’s reversal on family separation sparks concern, confusion
There is no current mechanism for reuniting children with their parents.
It also allows the Department of Homeland Security to separate children from parents if they believe the child may be in danger.
Immigrant advocates say the president's executive order is no solution, and will only create more trauma for children, as they will be placed in facilities that are unfit for minors.
"They are under constant supervision and observation to address any health or medical concerns while they are in our care", Wagner said.
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.
But these children are different - they arrived with their families.
Delaware Sen. Tom Carper said he was concerned about whether parents can track down their kids.
The only family separation Trump would sincerely object to is seeing his son Don Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner being taken away and jailed with Paul Manafort.
"The dilemma is that if you're weak, as some people would like you to be, if you're really, really pathetically weak, the country's going to be overrun with millions of people", Trump said on Wednesday, explaining his internal debate, "and if you're strong, then you don't have any heart".
On Tuesday, Olivares' team had seven people left to interview with five minutes left.
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