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President Trump helps vulnerable Republicans, but immigration fight likely still looms

23 June 2018

"I call on the Oversight Committee to start the process of accounting for every single child the Trump Administration separated from his or her parents in the name of the United States of America", said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) ranking member of the House Oversight Committee.

"It is particularly galling that President Trump seeks to continue violating children's human rights to justify and gin up support for the anti-family language included in Speaker Ryan's anti-immigrant bill", she said.

The other, a slightly less severe measure supported by the House leadership, would also restrict legal immigration, but wouldn't require E-Verify and provides a path to citizenship for dreamers.

It also directs other agencies, including the Pentagon, to take steps to find places to house family units. "It's a bill that could become law", said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

The president's abrupt about-face laid bare the administration's capricious use of executive power as it presses forward with a crackdown on illegal immigration, first ensnaring children in its "zero tolerance" prosecution policy, then coming up with a "stopgap" reprieve in the face of global condemnation.

"We're signing an executive order". I feel very strongly about it.

"It's about keeping families together while at the same time making sure that we have a very powerful, very strong border", Trump said as he signed the order in a hastily arranged Oval Office gathering. Critics have countered that Mr Trump unilaterally created the situation that produced the heart-rending accounts of children separated from their parents, and he could unilaterally fix it.

Meanwhile, the document Trump signed won't reunite the more than 2,300 children now separated from their parents, whose plight Trump admitted privately this week was deeply damaging to him politically.

He said he had been swayed by images of children who have been taken from parents while they are jailed and prosecuted for illegal border-crossing. "We don't like to see families separated". We know that because the administration made clear it considered the threat of taking children from mothers to be useful as a deterrent to further migrants.

The Trump administration still faces legal challenges because of a court order that caps how long immigration authorities may detain minors, and trigger fresh criticism of Trump's hardline immigration policies, which were central to his 2016 election campaign and now his presidency.

Senate Republicans had been preparing to advance legislation that would prohibit the government from splitting up families apprehended after crossing the border. "We still have to maintain toughness or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don't stand for and that we don't want".

The executive order seeks to work around a 1997 consent decree that bars the federal government from keeping children in immigration detention - even if they are with their parents - for more than 20 days. The president, he said, was in an "unsustainable position and would like to be bailed out of it without having to admit fault". So why do I say this is going to fail?

White House legislative officials watched as the president's action threatened a delicately negotiated balance between conservative and moderate House Republicans.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said Ivanka Trump had phoned lawmakers on Capitol Hill to echo the president's call to pass legislation to solve the issue completely. Before his U-turn on Wednesday the president had previously said "you can't do it through an executive order", insisting that only Congress could fix the policy by passing immigration reform.

The Times cites a Health and Human Services (HHS) Department official as saying that the children will not immediately be reunited with their families while their parents are detained throughout their immigration proceedings.

President Trump helps vulnerable Republicans, but immigration fight likely still looms