President Trump signs executive order walking back controversial immigration policy
By: Linda Kowalski, Xiro Xone News June 20, 2018 Updated: 2:11 PM PT
President Trump met with about 14 members of the Republican House and Senate at the White House to discuss the contents of a narrow executive order that would prevent the separation of families illegally crossing the border into the United States.
The order did not address reuniting families that were torn apart after he instructed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to implement a ‘Zero Tolerance’ immigration policy to crackdown on the influx of adults and unaccompanied children illegally crossing the border.
Pressure was mounting against the administration after photos and an audio of crying children flooded the airwaves, angering voters on both side of the isle. Democrats pushed back against the policy vociferously along with clergy from all denominations. All surviving former first ladies pushed back, and the current first lady released a statement that asked both sides to work to find a solution.
A small number of Republicans from progressive districts facing midterm elections along with a few others gently pushed back against the policy. “The president can change this with one phone call,” said South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham. “This is something of the presidents own making,” said Senator Lamar Alexander.
Separating families had been quietly going on since the policy directed by President Trump was implemented, but it gained media attention after Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) went on camera to a child detention center in McAllen Texas to investigate what was happening. He was turned away by the center who contacted local law enforcement to ask him to leave.
This incident with Merkley heightened plight of immigrant children who had been separated from their parents. It also caused some workers at some centers to anonymously send out photos and audio sounds of the children to a civil rights attorneys and news media.
Antar Davidson, a former youth care director working at the Texas detention center for the children, quit his job after being told to tell 3 siblings that was already taken from their parent and were going to be split-up that they “could not hug each other.” Mr. Davidson said he refused to stop the kids from hugging and was told he would be written up. He said, “I could not take it emotionally, what was going on at the shelter.” He went on to thank Senator Jeff Merkley for making an effort to shine a light on what was going on and how traumatic it is for the children and some of the workers.
The president ended the policy with an executive order but did not end the Zero Tolerance Policy.
There are unconfirmed reports that the Department of Justice (DOJ) asked that military lawyers (JAGS) be sent to help speed up cases with minor children and families seeking asylum.