Following the controversy surrounding the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from the parents for illegally crossing the border, Trump signed an executive order to freeze that part of the “zero tolerance” policy. Since the signing of the executive order, one border security official says that the U.S. has resorted back to the policy that was in place under President Obama known as “catch and release.”
Catch and release was a policy set in place by the Obama administration that essentially temporarily detained migrants from the Southern border before releasing them into the U.S. as they awaited their court date to declare asylum from their home country. Trump has continuously railed against this policy labeling it “weak.”
According to a New York Times report, Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin K. McAleenan, “told border agents not to refer families to the Justice Department for prosecution until the two agencies can agree on a policy that would allow parents to be prosecuted without separating them from their children.”
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later confirmed McAleenan’s statement adding that they are “simply out of resources.” Sanders also put blame on Congressional Democrats for not changing immigration laws despite the fact that Republicans have the majority in the House of Representatives, Senate, and Executive branch.
The Trump Administration says it will continue the “zero tolerance” policy, but with a freeze on the prosecution of adults crossing the border, it is hard to deny that “catch and release” is in place at least temporarily. McAleenan told reporters that migrants will not be turned over to prosecutors until the Justice Department and the Border Protection Agency figure out a policy that allows prosecution while keeping families together.
Trump’s rhetoric on immigration has been borderline unconstitutional. In one Tweet on Sunday, the President asked that migrants coming to the United States should be sent back immediately without due process.
We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 24, 2018
Trump Administration officials have also struggled with re-unifying children with their family when the more than 2,000 young migrants were separated and placed in detention centers. As of Saturday night, 2,053 children have not been reunited with their family despite the Wednesday signing of the executive order. According to CNN, border officials plan to hold the children until their family members’ deportation proceeding is completed.