Published: Wed, August 01, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Trump calls for immigration reform, terms current laws 'dumbest'

Trump calls for immigration reform, terms current laws 'dumbest'

Trump has withstood withering criticism in recent weeks for his summit with Russia's Vladimir Putin in which he did not chastise Moscow for its 2016 US election interference.

With President Donald Trump already under fire for taking thousands of migrant children from their detained parents - and botching the reunification of many - the request for the investigation elevated yet another issue to the administration's list of immigration headaches.

"I think the president's very serious about his wanting more money to fund the wall", Shelby said on Tuesday. Hundreds of children still remain separated. A federal judge in California is overseeing the reunification of those families under tight deadlines. More than 700 children remain separated, including more than 400 whose families have already left the US without them.

Members of both parties even accepted part of the blame for not updating US immigration laws to deal with the ever-growing flow of families entering the country and claiming asylum.

Still, Cruz and other Senate Republicans, and the Trump administration testifying Tuesday, continued to make two unfounded claims: that the Flores protections incentivize family migration and that the majority of immigrant families released on parole never show up for their court dates. While a child may end up at a center with picnic tables and an outdoor pool, the Times story notes that a child "could wind up at a converted motel" where "recreation takes place in a grassless compound, and the motel's damaged swimming pool is covered up".

Finding a compromise, especially in an election year, will be hard.

"These individuals have access to 24/7 food and water", said Matthew Albence, an agency official. "We do that through Congress", he said. "I have every confidence that you are the right person to do this".

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told the officials that the children's entertainment venue Chuck E. Cheese had a better system for preventing children from being separated from their parents than the US government.

A series of court rulings and USA laws prevent the government from keeping minors in prisons or detention centers for longer than 20 days.

But their answers revealed several new details about the administration's now reversed "zero tolerance" policy and the fallout that officials are still scrambling to fix.

Republican leaders believed they had secured Trump's patience last week when they huddled at the White House to discuss strategy ahead of the budget year that starts Oct.1.

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Albence added that it was "virtually impossible" to process the cases of immigrant children within the 20 days required by the Flores settlement, meaning that children were also leaving ICE custody, and sometimes falling through cracks in the tracking system. In an op-ed they co-authored for USA TODAY, the senators argued that those centers would be required to maintain "high humane standards".

The president has made no secret of his belief that his hard-line immigration policies boosted him to the Oval Office, and he launched an aggressive push for additional border security measures early this year.

Democrats have fought back against that proposal, arguing that any prolonged detention of minors is not only inhumane, but flies against the long-held ideal of the USA serving as a beacon for downtrodden immigrants.

Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal asked.

The Trump administration decries such policies as "catch and release".

Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, defended the officials and said Congress was also to blame for the administration's problems with handling the separated families.

Democrats say there are simple ways to fix that. "It's not your fault that Congress hasn't come up with a more sensible system", said Sen.

"Mothers have suffered unimaginable physical, mental and emotional and even sexual abuse while in federal custody", Grassley said. Some migrants separated from their children have said they did not understand what they were signing.

"The family separation policy is more than a bureaucratic lapse in justice", he said.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, called the zero-tolerance policy "well-intentioned and simple", citing the need for secure borders.

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