In an effort to deter mothers from traveling with their children across the border from Mexico to the US, the Trump Administration is considering separating the children from their mothers when caught crossing the border from Mexico into the United States, Reuters News is reporting.
Mothers would be held in detention and their children would be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services until they can be placed with relatives in the US or a state-sponsored guardian.
Currently, under what is known as the “catch and release” policy, families may be held in custody for 21 days, then must be released into society and given court dates to appear. Republicans argue that if mothers are willing to cross illegally with their children, making a dangerous journey, they are breaking laws and should not be released or automatically considered for asylum.
A Texas Democrat, Rep. Henry Cuellar who represents a district about 200 miles from the Mexican border said, “Bottom line: separating mothers and children is wrong,” Reuters reports.
The policy, if set into action, is likely to face legal action based on immigration and family law. An order from the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals stated children should be released from detention, but their parents are not required to be released.
Last week, the head of the Department of Homeland Security John Kelly ordered immigration agents to deport, or criminally prosecute, parents who illegally smuggle their children into the US.