US House to vote Thursday on bill to end family separations: Ryan

Gov. Jay Inslee outside the federal detention center in Sea Tac on June 9 forcefully states his opposition to the federal government policy of separating asylum seekers from their children

The US House of Representatives will vote on Thursday on immigration legislation created to end the government's practice of separating families who cross the US border illegally, House speaker Paul Ryan said.

Senate Republicans, fearing Trump's action will not withstand a legal challenge and eager to go on record opposing the administration's policy, have unveiled their own legislation to keep detained immigrant families together. The Department of Defense could also be asked to build facilities for families if necessary.

Democrats said the images of children being held in cages in border facilities, some crying for their parents, would be a moment remembered in US history.

CBS News' Ed O'Keefe reports that the president's decision caught members of Congress off guard. That's just what he did.

The speaker stressed Republicans "do not want children taken away from their parents" but he did not commit to holding a vote on stand-alone legislation to end family separation. One, a hard-line measure sponsored by Congressman Bob Goodlatte, would significantly reduce legal immigration, beef up border security, require employers to use the E-Verify system to verify the citizenship of employees (it's now voluntary) and give the "dreamers" a temporary legal status but not citizenship. However, Kester believes that the vote will take place as scheduled, "they could extend it, but the leadership wants to get this deal done and get it over with because that's what they said they would do".

"This is a stopgap measure", said Gene Hamilton, counsel to the attorney general. Children don't belong in jail at all, even with their parents, under any set of circumstances.

And it didn't do much for the teeming outrage over the issue. He said "it's not easy, but populism is not the solution".

U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order on immigration policy in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2018. This spring, he started separating families at the border, which came under intense, bipartisan criticism this week. Majority leader Mitch McConnell has said he doesn't have any intention of bringing up a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year, and it's nearly impossible to see how even the compromise - which, to repeat, is still extremely harsh - could get the votes of nine Democrats, which is what it would need to reach 60 votes and overcome a filibuster.

So what happens to the children who have been separated from their parents?

The administration has consistently said that it was forced to separate families due to a court case known as "the Flores Settlement".

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Trump's family apparently played a role in his turnaround.

Trump visited the Capitol on Tuesday to discuss immigration, and told House Republicans he is behind their rival immigration bills "1,000 percent".

First Lady Melania Trump, in private conversations with the president, urged him to do something, a White House official said. Those people were not authorized to speak publicly and commented only on condition of anonymity.

The order notes, "It is unfortunate that Congress's failure to act and court orders have put the Administration in the position of separating alien families to effectively enforce the law".

And while Goodlatte says there's support for both pieces of legislation, he thinks the second bill has the prospect of getting the 218 votes needed. "But I am working on something - it never ends!"

"Right now we're focused on passing this bill that's coming to the floor tomorrow", the Wisconsin Republican said.

The order requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to, "by the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations", hold in custody families, or members of families, who face pending criminal charges for illegal entry or other immigration proceedings-that is, both criminal and administrative proceedings. Instead, the children could be detained indefinitely with their parents. It shows numerous young detainees, in what appears to be similar cages to the other photo, who have separated from their families. The Trump administration has pointed to that agreement-called the "Flores settlement" after Flores v. Reno, the case in which it was reached-as the reason it has said it must separate children from their parents.

In 2015, a federal judge in Los Angeles expanded the terms of the settlement, ruling that it applies to children who are caught with their parents as well as to those who come to the USA alone.

But Mark Krikorian, executive director of the D.C. -based Center for Immigration Studies supported the president. Once in the US, these children are vulnerable to labor or sex trafficking.

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