Search The Archives

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

President Donald J. Trump is Acting to Enforce the Law, While Keeping Families Together (Executive Order Signed)

President Donald J. Trump is Acting to Enforce the Law, While Keeping Families Together

Issued on: June 20, 2018

"It’s about keeping families together, while at the same time, being sure that we have a very powerful, very strong border."



SECURING THE BORDER, KEEPING FAMILIES TOGETHER: President Donald J. Trump is using his existing executive authority to address family separation of illegal alien border-crossers.

President Trump is committed to protecting our Nation’s borders during a historic influx of illegal alien border crossers, while taking action under current legal constraints to prevent the separation of illegal alien families.

President Trump has signed an Executive Order that allows the Administration to continue to protect the border with our zero-tolerance policy, while also avoiding the separation of illegal alien families, to the extent he can legally do so.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will seek an immediate modification of the Flores settlement agreement, which prevents Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from detaining families together for more than 20 days.

Under the current settlement agreement, the government cannot hold illegal alien families together past 20 days, meaning a child must be separated from his or her parent if the parent remains in custody.

Half a million illegal immigrants’ families and minors from Central America have been released into the United States since 2014 as a result of catch-and-release loopholes.

The President is also ordering the prioritization of immigration cases involving families and ordering his Administration to expand our family detention capacity.

REFUSING TO DO THEIR JOB: Congressional Democrats have chosen to play politics with a humanitarian and national security crisis.

Current loopholes in Federal law prevent detention and removal as a family unit—leading to separations and mass catch-and-release.

Despite the clear need for legislative action, Congressional Democrats have refused to come to the table and work with the President in good faith to address the issue of family separation.

Instead, they are intent on furthering their agenda of open borders and trying to release all illegal alien families and minors who show up at the border.

Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) refused to do his job, saying “legislation is not the way to go here.”

Instead of acting, Congressional Democrats have blocked any effort to detain and remove families together; incentivizing even more illegal immigration.

CONGRESS MUST ACT: Lawmakers must still pass legislation to secure our border and to finally and fully allow family and minor detention and prompt removal.

The President has taken action to address the immediate issue by detaining families together for as long as he can legally do so under Flores, and now expects Congress to work quickly to address permanently the crisis at our border.

The United States cannot have a border that is open to illegal aliens.

The President supports the strong bill House Leadership has proposed to fix our dysfunctional immigration system, including the problems that arise from the Flores settlement agreement.

Since last October, the President has pushed Congress to close the loopholes that limit detention of families together to mere weeks but require years to effectuate a removal.

****************************************************************************

EXECUTIVE ORDER
Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation

Issued on: June 20, 2018


By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1.  Policy.  It is the policy of this Administration to rigorously enforce our immigration laws.  Under our laws, the only legal way for an alien to enter this country is at a designated port of entry at an appropriate time.  When an alien enters or attempts to enter the country anywhere else, that alien has committed at least the crime of improper entry and is subject to a fine or imprisonment under section 1325(a) of title 8, United States Code.  This Administration will initiate proceedings to enforce this and other criminal provisions of the INA until and unless Congress directs otherwise.  It is also the policy of this Administration to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.  It is unfortunate that Congress’s failure to act and court orders have put the Administration in the position of separating alien families to effectively enforce the law.

Sec. 2.  Definitions.  For purposes of this order, the following definitions apply:

(a)  “Alien family” means

(i)  any person not a citizen or national of the United States who has not been admitted into, or is not authorized to enter or remain in, the United States, who entered this country with an alien child or alien children at or between designated ports of entry and who was detained; and

(ii)  that person’s alien child or alien children.

(b)  “Alien child” means any person not a citizen or national of the United States who

(i)    has not been admitted into, or is not authorized to enter or remain in, the United States;

(ii)   is under the age of 18; and

(iii)  has a legal parent-child relationship to an alien who entered the United States with the alien child at or between designated ports of entry and who was detained.

 Sec. 3.  Temporary Detention Policy for Families Entering this Country Illegally.  (a)  The Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary), shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, maintain custody of alien families during the pendency of any criminal improper entry or immigration proceedings involving their members.

(b)  The Secretary shall not, however, detain an alien family together when there is a concern that detention of an alien child with the child’s alien parent would pose a risk to the child’s welfare.

(c)  The Secretary of Defense shall take all legally available measures to provide to the Secretary, upon request, any existing facilities available for the housing and care of alien families, and shall construct such facilities if necessary and consistent with law.  The Secretary, to the extent permitted by law, shall be responsible for reimbursement for the use of these facilities.

(d)  Heads of executive departments and agencies shall, to the extent consistent with law, make available to the Secretary, for the housing and care of alien families pending court proceedings for improper entry, any facilities that are appropriate for such purposes.  The Secretary, to the extent permitted by law, shall be responsible for reimbursement for the use of these facilities.

(e)  The Attorney General shall promptly file a request with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to modify the Settlement Agreement in Flores v. Sessions, CV 85-4544 (“Flores settlement”), in a manner that would permit the Secretary, under present resource constraints, to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings.

Sec. 4.  Prioritization of Immigration Proceedings Involving Alien Families.  The Attorney General shall, to the extent practicable, prioritize the adjudication of cases involving detained families.

Sec. 5.  General Provisions.  (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This order shall be implemented in a manner consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP

THE WHITE HOUSE,

June 20, 2018.