Amid aggressive uproar from Democrats and Republicans alike, President Trump has signed an executive order to end the controversial practice of separating families who enter the US illegally. The “zero-tolerance” policy issued by Attorney General Jeff Sessions is still in place, though this provision aims to “maintain family unity by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.”
While the order may temporarily calm the objections of the new policy’s opponents, the US is still begging for a larger resolve, with calls from both parties to the Administration to end the zero-tolerance policy all-together.
The Administration, though, used the executive order to shift responsibility for the current immigration dilemma into the hands of Congress:
“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.”
In response, aides in both the House and the Senate have confirmed that they had not reached a suitable judicial compromise. With the House vote on two immigration bills – which was scheduled for yesterday – pushed back to next week, the issue will quite possibly remain in legislative limbo.
As the issue and search for a solution continue, the new executive order could encounter legal challenges. Although the order states that Sessions request a US district court to amend the agreement, advocates could still argue that keeping children in detention centers is in direct violation of the 1997 decision known as the Flores Settlement.
As Flores v Sessions takes place, the 9th Circuit will most likely find a case to side against Trump in favor of a catch and release policy, similar to the one under the Obama Administration. If the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, Trump may have a battle ahead of him, with Minority Leader Charles Schumer leading the charge.
Though the outcome of the Administrations executive order is yet to be seen, one thing remains certain, asylum seekers have one less thing to worry about as they sleep tonight.