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Demonstrators line up to protest U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and immigration reform at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, Ind. Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Mike Moore/The Journal-Gazette via AP)
Demonstrators line up to protest U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and immigration reform at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, Ind. Thursday, June 14, 2018. (Mike Moore/The Journal-Gazette via AP)

Republicans intend to negotiate with the separation of families

Republicans will do everything possible to build the wall, even if it means negotiating with the policy of separating families at the border.

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After the news was plagued with images of separated families, children confined to improvised jails, and legislators and activists denouncing the inhumane measures of the Trump administration, Republicans have once again seized on the opportunity to use the attention as a platform for possible negotiation to satisfy the presidential whims.

On Thursday, Republicans in the House of Representatives circulated "a proposal to end the Trump Administration's practice of separating immigrant children from their families when they are apprehended at the border," the Washington Post reported.

Supposedly, the measure proposes to "allow children to be detained with their parents," but the draft of the discussion includes a broader legislative project that reconciles the differences between moderate and conservative Republicans by “balancing relief for young undocumented immigrants, billions of dollars for President Trump’s border wall, and changes in legal immigration programs, "the Post continues.

"We want to make sure that the families are not divided, and yet we do have to secure the border," said Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart (R-Fla.), one of those in charge of negotiating the proposal. "[Detaining families together] is an option, and if somebody has a better one, we'd like to look at it."

Apparently, the Trump administration and its Republican cohort will try to transform immigration back into a negotiating currency within Congress, giving the impression of solving a matter as serious for the immigrant community as DACA and the "zero tolerance" policy of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in exchange for what the president has asked from the beginning.

Spokesmen and conservative journalists have begun a campaign to ensure that the legislative proposal will avoid family separation, but the language of the proposal is quite clear.

As Vox explained, there is no section in the project that dismisses family separation. What does exist within the drafted legislation is a section entitled "Clarification of Standards for Family Detention," in which "ICE is allowed to detain immigrant children who come to the United States with their parents or guardians in the same way it would detain adults."

The Republican proposal then suggests rescinding the 1997 judicial ruling that obliged federal authorities to consider "less restrictive" measures when the detention of undocumented immigrants involved children, such as the placement of children with relatives or the confinement of mothers with children.

The text clearly states: "There exists no presumption that an alien child who is not an unaccompanied alien child should not be detained, and all such determinations shall be at the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security."

"The House bill allows the administration to keep families in immigration detention indefinitely," continues Vox. "It doesn’t even specify that there are any additional conditions on how children can be detained – there’s nothing preventing the Trump administration from simply putting children in existing ICE detention centers for adults, rather than expanding detention centers designed for families."

Similarly, the proposal includes 25 billion dollars for a border wall and a "new visa" that would allow undocumented youth who arrived in the country as children (better known as Dreamers) a path to permanent residency and "eventual citizenship."

Meanwhile, the U.S. government has begun proceedings to build "a temporary shelter in Tornillo, Texas, to accommodate the overflow of unaccompanied children as a result of the Trump administration policy," the Associated Press reported.

 

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