National Archives This is historical material “frozen in time”. The website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work.

SECURING THE BORDER, KEEPING FAMILIES TOGETHER: President Donald J. Trump is using his existing executive authority to address family separation of illegal alien border-crossers.

  • President Trump is committed to protecting our Nation’s borders during a historic influx of illegal alien border crossers, while taking action under current legal constraints to prevent the separation of illegal alien families.
  • President Trump has signed an Executive Order that allows the Administration to continue to protect the border with our zero-tolerance policy, while also avoiding the separation of illegal alien families, to the extent he can legally do so.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions will seek an immediate modification of the Flores settlement agreement, which prevents Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from detaining families together for more than 20 days.
    • Under the current settlement agreement, the government cannot hold illegal alien families together past 20 days, meaning a child must be separated from his or her parent if the parent remains in custody.
    • Half a million illegal immigrants’ families and minors from Central America have been released into the United States since 2014 as a result of catch-and-release loopholes.
  • The President is also ordering the prioritization of immigration cases involving families and ordering his Administration to expand our family detention capacity.

REFUSING TO DO THEIR JOB: Congressional Democrats have chosen to play politics with a humanitarian and national security crisis.

  • Current loopholes in Federal law prevent detention and removal as a family unit—leading to separations and mass catch-and-release.
  • Despite the clear need for legislative action, Congressional Democrats have refused to come to the table and work with the President in good faith to address the issue of family separation.
  • Instead, they are intent on furthering their agenda of open borders and trying to release all illegal alien families and minors who show up at the border.
    • Yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) refused to do his job, saying “legislation is not the way to go here.”
  • Instead of acting, Congressional Democrats have blocked any effort to detain and remove families together; incentivizing even more illegal immigration.

CONGRESS MUST ACT: Lawmakers must still pass legislation to secure our border and to finally and fully allow family and minor detention and prompt removal.

  • The President has taken action to address the immediate issue by detaining families together for as long as he can legally do so under Flores, and now expects Congress to work quickly to address permanently the crisis at our border.
  • The United States cannot have a border that is open to illegal aliens.
  • The President supports the strong bill House Leadership has proposed to fix our dysfunctional immigration system, including the problems that arise from the Flores settlement agreement.
  • Since last October, the President has pushed Congress to close the loopholes that limit detention of families together to mere weeks but require years to effectuate a removal.