Over the course of almost a year, the Trump administration’s anti-immigration efforts haven’t come any closer to seeing that big, beautiful border wall erect itself, but they have seen some scattered victories. Even though a federal judge blocked the Justice Department’s effort to remove funding from sanctuary cities, the Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of Trump’s travel ban that bars people from six Muslim-majority countries. And the most controversial move yet could soon arrive, as the New York Times reports that the White House is weighing a plan to separate children from parents after families are discovered illegally crossing the border.
Naturally, the plan is aimed at discouraging illegal immigration by ending the policy of keeping families together until deportation determinations are made, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reportedly fully on board with the proposal if it goes forward. The NY Times sources anonymous Department of Homeland Security officials along with a White House source, who provided some details:
Under current policy, families are kept intact while awaiting a decision on whether they will be deported; they are either held in special family detention centers or released with a court date. The policy under discussion would send parents to adult detention facilities, while their children would be placed in shelters designed for juveniles or with a “sponsor,” who could be a relative in the United States, though the administration may also tighten rules on sponsors.
The Washington Post notes that this drastic measure, which some will call inhumane, has been floated as a response to an “abrupt reversal” in the initial decline in illegal immigration that followed President Trump’s inauguration. For now, newly installed DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen hasn’t made a move on approving the plan, which was reportedly crafted as a collaborative effort by DHS and ICE officials, but it looks like 2018 may be as messy as 2017.