The Truth About That “Separating Families” Issue

With the left literally screaming their lungs out over the “separating families” issue at the border, here are some facts you need to know. Please feel free to forward these to people like Patty Murray and Laura Bush who claim it’s all Trump’s fault. Newsflash: a settlement agreed to by the DOJ under Janet Reno has been in effect since 1997. It is one of the roots of the current problems.

ICE agents

For years, most of the illegals coming across the border were lone males. But in the last ten years or so, that dynamic has shifted to family units. The Trump administration hasn’t changed the rules at the border – they were set previously.  They are just enforcing those rules.

The only time a child is separated from an adult is if the adult is falsely claiming to be their parent, or is a threat to a child, or if they are involved in criminal charges. But the US is prohibited from holding children for more than 20 days unless the adult has requested asylum, which can take significantly longer.

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And there have been a lot of fictitious relationships – it has become a way of skirting America’s border policy.

Catch and Release

The National Review wrote,

If the adult then wants to go home, in keeping with the expedited order of removal that is issued as a matter of course, it’s relatively simple. The adult should be reunited quickly with his or her child, and the family returned home as a unit. In this scenario, there’s only a very brief separation.

Where it becomes much more of an issue is if the adult files an asylum claim. In that scenario, the adults are almost certainly going to be detained longer than the government is allowed to hold their children.

That’s because of something called the Flores Consent Decree from 1997. It says that unaccompanied children can be held only 20 days. A ruling by the Ninth Circuit extended this 20-day limit to children who come as part of family units. So even if we want to hold a family unit together, we are forbidden from doing so.

The clock ticking on the time the government can hold a child will almost always run out before an asylum claim is settled. The migrant is allowed ten days to seek an attorney, and there may be continuances or other complications.

This creates the choice of either releasing the adults and children together into the country pending the ajudication of the asylum claim, or holding the adults and releasing the children. If the adult is held, HHS places the child with a responsible party in the U.S., ideally a relative (migrants are likely to have family and friends here).

Even if Flores didn’t exist, the government would be very constrained in how many family units it can accommodate. ICE has only about 3,000 family spaces in shelters. It is also limited in its overall space at the border, which is overwhelmed by the ongoing influx. This means that — whatever the Trump administration would prefer to do — many adults are still swiftly released.

No more free passes

DHS Secretary Kirsten Njielsen told the National Sheriff’s Association in New Orleans, “Illegal actions have and must have consequences. No more free passes, no more get out of jail free cards.”

In the past, administrations asked law enforcement to ‘look the other way’ if a family unit came across the border. No more.  The Trump Administration is referring all illegal border crossings for prosecution: first time illegal entry= misdemeanor, illegal re-entry= felony. And that’s the job we’ve asked him to do. We’re tired of illegal immigrants being treated better than our own citizens.

The DHS does not care for the children, by the way, it’s HHS that places them in shelters. They are eating better there than they ever would at home.


One of the most common practices is for “fake” parents to bring children across the border because they assume we won’t do anything but let them through. That fosters more and more abuses of the system. Then you have DACA, another Obama debacle:

According to Fox,

“Nearly 60,000 immigrants with arrest records — including 10 accused of murder — have been allowed to stay in the United States under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed Monday.”

DACA is an Obama edict, not Trump. So there you have it- as Trump calls for real common sense change, all he’s getting is the usual ‘no solution’ Democrats bashing him and calling him names.

H/T Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children


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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. All of her posts on Conservative Firing Line are also posted on Uncle Sam's.

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