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Trump, Republicans Will Meet to Discuss Immigrant Family Separation Policy
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An immigrant child separated from her parents cries. Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune.

Summary: On Tuesday evening, Congress will meet to vote on immigration reform. 

Cracking down on illegal immigration was a major campaign platform for now-President Donald Trump, but the way immigrant families have been treated at the southern border of the country has the nation riled.

  
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It was discovered this year that children were separated from their parents who had illegally crossed the border between Mexico and the United States, and those children were put in camps. Although this practice has been occurring since at least 2014, during the Barack Obama administration, liberals and conservatives have demanded Trump stop tearing families apart.

“Put simply, the deliberate separation of children and their parents who seek lawful asylum in America is wrong. This practice is contrary to American values and must be stopped,” Hector Balderas, the attorney general of New Mexico, said.

The practice of separating immigrant children was meant as a deterrent to illegal immigration, but many are calling it cruel and a human rights violation. On Tuesday, Trump and other Republicans agreed to meet to discuss what to do to maintain their stern stance on immigration while also being humane, according to Reuters. Afterward, Congress will convene in the evening to discuss new immigration bills.

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Videos and pictures of sad children at camps, sleeping on mats on the floor or in cages, has sparked outrage from liberal voices such as Senator Kamala Harris and conservatives such as Senator John McCain and former First Lady Laura Bush. Separating immigrant families has been a contentious issue here in the US, but it is also drawing condemnation globally.

The United Nations said that the act of separating immigrant families, some seeking asylum, was a human rights violation. In response, the Trump Administration threatened to leave the UN Human Rights Council.



Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have defended the practice of separating immigrant families, and Trump has attempted to falsely blame Democrats for the practice. Trump has said that he will make changes only if Democrats agree to his other immigration terms such as funding the border wall, and Democrats have accused him of using the almost 2,000 separated children as hostages.

Sessions said that the US had a “zero tolerance” policy for immigrants who illegally crossed the border, and he said that the parents were going to be criminally charged. Parents who were caught by border agents thus go to federal jails while their children are put in detention centers run by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Between mid-April and the end of May, almost 2,000 children were separated and put in custody.

On Tuesday evening, Congress is meeting to discuss a big immigration overhaul, and topics will include the border wall, family separations, and DACA. Reuters said that two bills drafted solely by Republicans will be on the table.

One bill would limit family separations and fund Trump’s wall while also giving protections to young adults involved in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. A second bill backed by far-right conservatives is calling for a harder line on immigration.

What do you think of illegal immigration in the United States? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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