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Trump’s executive order on family separations: 3 things it doesn’t do

Trump’s executive order on family separations: 3 things it doesn’t do
[Photo: Flickr user Gage Skidmore]

President Trump appeared to relent under the weight of immense backlash today, signing an executive order he claims will end the much-criticized practice of separating families at the border. The move comes after days of Trump and other administration officials patently insisting that they had no actual policy of separating children from their parents—and had no authority to stop it.

The order is titled “Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation.” You can read the full text here. In the meantime, as many commentators have noted, the move is not likely to quell criticism of Trump’s immigration policies or defuse much of the chaos taking place at the border.

Here are three things the executive order doesn’t do:

  • It does not end the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy. In fact, it only reinforces Trump’s commitment to it. The order makes it clear the the government will continue to prosecute everyone crossing the border illegally. The biggest change here is that families will be detained together while their cases are being prosecuted.
  • It does not specifically address what will happen to families and children who have already been separated. Estimates put that number at about 2,300 children since zero tolerance began.
  • It does not require the government to stop separating families. The order simply says the administration will detain “alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources,” meaning there are likely to be a lot of exceptions.

You can read more context about the executive order here and here.

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