Legislative ineptitude has once again led to Executive Action
Let’s hope the end of the child immigration separation fiasco is nigh.
The Associated Press is reporting Trump will sign an Executive Order “shortly” requiring families detained at the border to remain intact.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen drafted the order for Trump’s approval.
From the AP:
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has drafted an executive action for President Donald Trump that would direct her department to keep families together after they are detained crossing the border illegally. She was at the White House where Trump told reporters he would be “signing something” shortly.
The effort to end what has become a major crisis for the Trump administration was outlined by two people familiar with Nielsen’s thinking who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the effort before its official announcement.
It’s unclear exactly what the president might be supporting, but he said he would be signing something “in a little while.”
“We want to keep families together,” he said.
The effort would mark a dramatic departure for an administration that has been insisting, wrongly, that it has no choice but to separate families apprehended at the border because of the law and a court decision.
Nielsen, the president and other officials have repeatedly said the only way to end the practice is for Congress to pass new legislation, though both Democrats and some Republicans have said the president could reverse it with a simple phone call.
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.
One of the people familiar with Nielsen’s thinking said she believes there is no certainty that Congress will act to fix the separation issue.
Asked about the possibility of an executive order on immigration, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters: “We’ll keep you posted. When we have an announcement to make, we’ll make it.”
There’s no reason a Republican-controlled Congress should have this much difficulty passing legislation for a Republican president, and yet…
The administration repeatedly kicked the issue to Congress, imploring them to pass legislation to tighten up the loophole that created the child separation mess.
Legislative ineptitude (on both sides of the aisle) has once again led to Executive Action (or expected action).
Wednesday morning, Trump blamed Democrats for refusing to work with Republicans:
The Fake News is not mentioning the safety and security of our Country when talking about illegal immigration. Our immigration laws are the weakest and worst anywhere in the world, and the Dems will do anything not to change them & to obstruct-want open borders which means crime!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2018
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 20, 2018
But how can this be? How can this NYT story be accurate? I was told that Trump and Nielson were dangerous liars — worse than Hitler, I believe the claim went — for saying there was a law that required family separation after 20 days. pic.twitter.com/lCMAoLdKHw
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) June 20, 2018
Update: Trump signs EO
Trump signed the Executive Order Wednesday afternoon. And because Trump is Trump, he displeasure with Congress’s inaction was plainly noted:
It is unfortunate that Congress’s failure to act and court orders have put the Administration in the position of separating alien families to effectively enforce the law.
"You're going to have a lot of happy people," Pres. Trump says while signing an executive order that he says will end family separation at the border. https://t.co/n43d8BLNUI pic.twitter.com/SmpMBIlHAB
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 20, 2018
Text of the order here:
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. It is the policy of this Administration to rigorously enforce our immigration laws. Under our laws, the only legal way for an alien to enter this country is at a designated port of entry at an appropriate time. When an alien enters or attempts to enter the country anywhere else, that alien has committed at least the crime of improper entry and is subject to a fine or imprisonment under section 1325(a) of title 8, United States Code. This Administration will initiate proceedings to enforce this and other criminal provisions of the INA until and unless Congress directs otherwise. It is also the policy of this Administration to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources. It is unfortunate that Congress’s failure to act and court orders have put the Administration in the position of separating alien families to effectively enforce the law.
Sec. 2. Definitions. For purposes of this order, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Alien family” means
(i) any person not a citizen or national of the United States who has not been admitted into, or is not authorized to enter or remain in, the United States, who entered this country with an alien child or alien children at or between designated ports of entry and who was detained; and
(ii) that person’s alien child or alien children.
(b) “Alien child” means any person not a citizen or national of the United States who
(i) has not been admitted into, or is not authorized to enter or remain in, the United States;
(ii) is under the age of 18; and
(iii) has a legal parent-child relationship to an alien who entered the United States with the alien child at or between designated ports of entry and who was detained.
Sec. 3. Temporary Detention Policy for Families Entering this Country Illegally. (a) The Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary), shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, maintain custody of alien families during the pendency of any criminal improper entry or immigration proceedings involving their members.
(b) The Secretary shall not, however, detain an alien family together when there is a concern that detention of an alien child with the child’s alien parent would pose a risk to the child’s welfare.
(c) The Secretary of Defense shall take all legally available measures to provide to the Secretary, upon request, any existing facilities available for the housing and care of alien families, and shall construct such facilities if necessary and consistent with law. The Secretary, to the extent permitted by law, shall be responsible for reimbursement for the use of these facilities.
(d) Heads of executive departments and agencies shall, to the extent consistent with law, make available to the Secretary, for the housing and care of alien families pending court proceedings for improper entry, any facilities that are appropriate for such purposes. The Secretary, to the extent permitted by law, shall be responsible for reimbursement for the use of these facilities.
(e) The Attorney General shall promptly file a request with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to modify the Settlement Agreement in Flores v. Sessions, CV 85-4544 (“Flores settlement”), in a manner that would permit the Secretary, under present resource constraints, to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings.
Sec. 4. Prioritization of Immigration Proceedings Involving Alien Families. The Attorney General shall, to the extent practicable, prioritize the adjudication of cases involving detained families.
Sec. 5. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented in a manner consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,
June 20, 2018.
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.