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Trump to sign EO to end separation of migrant children from parents

Last updated on: June 20, 2018 23:59 IST

Facing nationwide protests and global outrage over his decision to separate children from their parents who cross the border illegally, United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he is working on a new executive order to prevent such a situation.

"We're going to be signing an executive order in a little while... We've got to be keeping families together," Trump said, as he met lawmakers on the issue.

"I'll be doing something that's somewhat preemptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation I'm sure," said the President, who till a night ago was asking the Democrats to come out with a legislative fix in Congress.


Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was at the White House to discuss the language of the executive order. Trump is expected to sign the order later on Wednesday.

In recent weeks, some 2,500 children who crossed the US border illegally along with their parents have been separated from them. Media reports have appeared about heart-rending scenes of children crying for their parents.

A day earlier, Trump blamed the opposition Democrats for the current impasse and asked them to come out with a legislative fix.

Senate Minority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer said the Trump administration has been sending babies and young children to what they call 'tender age facilities'.

"It is unconscionable, unconscionable, that the government of the United States is warehousing babies and toddlers, alone, in an institutional setting," he said.

Schumer alleged that this crisis was wilfully and purposefully created by Trump through his zero tolerance policy at the border.

"It can -- and should -- be ended by the same mechanism. With the simple flick of the pen, a simple flick of the pen, the president can end this policy. If the president wants to borrow my pen, he can have it. But he can do it quickly and easily if he wants to. It's on his back," he said.

"The administration must end this gratuitous, cruel, and counterproductive policy that has brought such pain to innocent children and so much shame on this nation," Schumer said, adding that no law requires the separation of children from their families.

"No law says you must send babies to detention facilities. And no law is required to end it. Nineteen Republicans here in the Senate have already called on the Trump administration to reverse or suspend this policy administratively, without any Congressional action.

"If our Republican colleagues, and the Republican leadership in particular, want to solve this problem, they ought to be directing their attention to the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House because that's where it can get done, done well, and done quickly," he said.

Lalit K Jha in Washington, DC
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