Federal judge tells Trump admin to reunite families, stop separations at border

On Tuesday, a federal judge in California issued an order prohibiting federal agents from separating families at the U.S.-Mexican border and instructing that those who have already been separated be reunited.

The injunction, issued in response to a lawsuit brought by the ACLU and an anonymous female immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, orders that all children be reunited with their families within 30 days, among other provisions.

Despite President Trump’s issuance of an executive order ending family separations on Wednesday, June 20, the court held the directive was inadequate and lacked a remedy for those families already separated.

The Justice Department responded to the ruling by saying the order to reunite families separated at the border “makes it even more imperative” that Congress pass legislation that would enable it to both enforce the law and keep loved ones together.

On Wednesday, that remedy seemed all the more distant as the House of Representatives voted on a “compromise” immigration bill less than a week after more conservative legislation failed. Despite Trump’s emphatic tweet encouraging support of the latest Republican attempt at immigration reform, the bill suffered a major defeat by a vote of 121 to 301.

In addition to Democratic opposition, 112 Republicans voted “Nay”, giving it less support than the conservative bill offered last week. Many GOPers are hesitant to sign on to any bill that has even a hint of “amnesty” attached to it, as this particular piece of legislation would have given a path to legal status to DACA recipients.

It bears mentioning that the compromise bill was offered to moderates as a way to quash a discharge petition that would have allowed a vote on numerous immigration bills, including those offered by Democrats. According to one GOP aide, “Ultimately, it’s a win for leadership because the whole goal of this immigration exercise was to prevent the discharge petition.”

Democratic response to the vote was swift and harsh:

Meanwhile, Pelosi’s colleague from California, Republican congressman David Valadao issued the following statement to ABC News Bakersfield:

“This bill began the process of repairing our broken immigration system from the ground up while also strengthening our border and providing Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship. It is incredibly disappointing the bill failed to pass in the House.” 

He continued, “It is clear, the only way to implement comprehensive reform legislation is if Republicans and Democrats put aside political objectives and work together to repair our broken system.”

The path forward for meaningful immigration reform is difficult to predict, but there are numerous attempts underway in both the House and Senate to address the family separation issue through more narrowly crafted legislation.

None are expected to be acted on before the July 4th holiday.

 

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