Parted at USA border by Trump policy, migrants seek their children

Trump GOP shouldn’t bother with immigration bill until midterms

Trump GOP shouldn’t bother with immigration bill until midterms

President Donald Trump on Friday put a spotlight on families who lost loved ones killed by undocumented immigrants - calling them victims of "permanent separation" - as he sought to shift the attention away from his administration's recently halted policy of separating migrant families at the border.

In the meantime, federal authorities appear to be easing up on the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy of prosecuting all adults caught illegally entering the USA - though the Justice Department flatly denied there has been any change. "We will secure our borders ... the word will get out".

Merida-Galicia, who is being held in California, is just one of many incarcerated immigrant mothers whose attorneys tell similar stories about chaotic situations in which the mothers don't know where their children have been taken or how to contact them.

After a week of saturation coverage on illegal immigrant parents separated from their children - a policy Trump reversed under public and political pressure - the president stressed that so-called Angel Families have been "permanently separated".

Adults accused of immigration offenses are under the authority of the Homeland Security Department, while children taken from their parents are overseen by Health and Human Services.

With both White House arguments proving untenable and public pressure mounting in the wake of photographs of children kept in cages at a Texas facility and audio of them crying out for their moms and dads, Trump signed an executive order Wednesday meant to keep families together at the border.

According to White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, the child was not detained separately from her mother.

Trump's comments on the issue come just after a tweet this morning in which he pushed against immigration reform.

But Trump and some of the grieving family members he appeared with on Friday attempted to cast perspective on the border separations by discussing their own tragedies.

"She said HHS had asked the Pentagon "to determine its capabilities to provide up to 20,000 temporary beds for unaccompanied alien children" at military installations".

U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican representing a majority Hispanic district in Florida and who is not running for re-election, termed the president's tweets "schizoid policymaking".

Indefinite detentions run afoul of the so-called Flores settlement, a 1997 agreement that has been interpreted by courts as meaning children can not be detained for more than 20 days.

The dramatic audio, first reported by ProPublica and later provided to The Associated Press, roiled the national debate over the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" approach to border crossings.

They have instead been kept in separate facilities.

On Capitol Hill, in yet another abrupt reversal by the president, Trump on Friday told fellow Republicans in Congress to "stop wasting their time" on immigration legislation until after the November elections.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on Thursday rejected a conservative immigration proposal and delayed until next week a vote on a potential compromise in yet another setback for Republican leadership.

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