Moments ago, President Trump signed an executive order.
The order makes clear that family unity is a priority at the border.
We fully support the President’s action. The border must be secured. Our laws must be enforced. But the family must always take precedence.
Of course, a permanent legislative fix would have been better. Just yesterday Senator Ted Cruz, R-TX, proposed legislation that would have ended family separation, provided temporary housing facilities, and doubled the number of immigration judges so that cases could be processed faster.
But before the ink was even dry on Senator Cruz’s proposal, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made clear Democrats would oppose the Cruz bill. In essence, they admitted they would rather the border crisis continue and focus on Trump instead.
Keep in mind the Cruz bill was “clean” — meaning it had a laser focus on the family separation policy. No funding for a border wall. No E-Verify. Nothing on DACA.
And Democrats still said: “No way!”
HERE’S THE CRUX: Since the establishment of an immigration policy called the “Flores Settlement” in 1997, our laws have prevented children illegally crossing our border from being held in detention centers for more than 20 days. With the surge in those claiming asylum, the backlog of cases became impossible to resolve within 20 days. So the Obama administration decided to release the parents and children into the United States, pending a future court hearing (a practice commonly called “catch and release.”) Yet … according to the Heritage Foundation, 95% of asylum claimants never show up to their court hearing. And according to reports, as many as 80% of asylum claims are denied as illegitimate.
The Trump Administration decided instead to hold all adult illegal migrants in custody to prevent asylum claimants from fleeing. But, still bound by the Flores settlement, the Administration was forced to separate children after 20 days to the Department of Health and Human Services to find them a responsible guardian (with preference for relatives).
So what does the new Executive Order do? The order:
- States that the policy of the government is to rigorously enforce our nation’s immigration laws; but also to prioritize family unity as much as possible;
- Instructs the Secretary of Homeland Security to provide facilities to accommodate these families together for longer than 20 days;
- Instructs the Attorney General to petition the federal courts to modify the Flores settlement to allow families to be held together for more than 20 days, because of the current limitations of our immigration courts to handle the surge in cases.
This executive order is the right call. But the partisan propaganda and media hype we’ve watched over the last several days make clear that the good of migrant children and their families was often not the real goal.
The comparisons to the Holocaust. The phony pictures of kids in cages taken, not from the border, but from a protest. The total media blackout on what occurred in the past. The references to “concentration camps,” and the insinuation that the only reason for the policy was racism and hatred, was downright despicable.
These children deserve better than to be used in a partisan war by supposedly educated people — some of whom are Catholic.
For this reason, don’t think for a second this issue has been resolved.
We’re thrilled families will be united. This was the right thing to do.
But we’re not stupid. Trump remains the target.
And November is their goal.