On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, President Donald Trump told House Republicans to send him a compromise immigration bill to address border security and other key issues. Within less than 24 hours, in a move designed to stave off the continued public outcry over the separation of children from migrant parents detained at the southern border, on June 20 the president signed an executive order, “Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation.” The executive order states that officials will continue to prosecute everyone who crosses the border illegally but will find or build facilities to hold families together while the parents’ cases are considered by the courts.
Zero Tolerance Policy Reiterated
The president indicated the border will be “just as tough,” with borders “very strong,” but families will no longer be separated. In a news conference where he was flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, President Trump indicated, “We are keeping a very powerful border and it continues to be a zero tolerance.” The executive order similarly reiterates the administration’s hard-line policy to detain any adults entering the country illegally, a policy that, according to statistics released on June 19, has led to the separation of more than 2,300 children from their parents. As stated in the order: