The Trump administration is considering a new approach to immigrant families crossing the southern U.S. border that would once again involve separating children from their parents, according to The Washington Post.
> One option under consideration is for the government to detain asylum-seeking families together for up to 20 days, then give parents a choice — stay in family detention with their child for months or years as their immigration case proceeds, or allow children to be taken to a government shelter so other relatives or guardians can seek custody.
> That option — called “binary choice” — is one of several under consideration amid the president’s frustration over border security. Trump has been unable to fulfill key promises to build a border wall and end what he calls “catch and release,” a process that began under past administrations in which most detained families are quickly freed to await immigration hearings. The number of migrant family members arrested and charged with illegally crossing the border jumped 38 percent in August and is now at a record level, according to Department of Homeland Security officials.
Administration officials told The Post that White House adviser Stephen Miller in particular is pushing for more harsh measures because in his view, the family separations earlier this year were effective deterrents to illegal immigration.
> At least 2,500 children were taken from their parents over a period of six weeks. Crossings by families declined slightly in May, June and July before surging again in August. September numbers are expected to be even higher.
> While some inside the White House and DHS are concerned about the “optics” and political blowback of renewed separations, Miller and others are determined to act, according to officials briefed on the deliberations. There have been several high-level meetings in the White House in recent weeks about the issue. The “binary choice” option is seen as one that could be tried out fairly quickly.
However, the American Civil Liberties Union — which sued the administration over its previous family separation policy — said it would oppose any new policy that expands family detentions or causes family separations.
> “The government need not, and legally may not, indiscriminately detain families who present no flight risk or danger,” ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said in an email. “It is deeply troubling that this Administration continues to look for ways to cause harm to small children.”