Donald Trump is claiming that he wants to end his administration’s substantively and politically horrible policy of taking parents from their children — sometimes under false pretenses, literally Nazi-style — by taking some unspecified action:
President Trump abruptly reversed course Wednesday, saying he would sign an executive order ending family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border after a public uproar over the impact of his administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
The plan, as described by administration officials, would keep families together in federal custody while awaiting prosecution for illegal border crossings, potentially violating a 1997 court settlement limiting the duration of child detentions.
“We have to be very strong on the border but at the same time we want to be very compassionate,” Trump said at the White House during a meeting with lawmakers that was opened to the media.
Trump had repeatedly defended his immigration crackdown, including forcibly separating migrant children from their parents after they crossed the border. But images of young children in tears, housed in metal cages, set off an international outcry.
Trump’s remarks came shortly after House Republican leaders vowed to bring broader immigration legislation up for votes Thursday to address the crisis, despite widespread skepticism that a bill could pass.
“I’ll be doing something that’s somewhat preemptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation, I’m sure,” Trump said at the White House, adding that he would still like to see Congress take action later.
House Republican leaders and more than two dozen lawmakers traveled to the White House on Wednesday afternoon in hopes of rallying support for such legislation that appeared short of the votes needed.
To state what should be obvious:
As always with Trump, it'd be wise to wait to see the details of something he described as "something."
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) June 20, 2018
Maybe this will end the policy, despite the lack of a Republican consensus. It seems more likely that it will “end” the policy by simply ignoring the Flores consent decree, and then blaming the courts when they intervene when children are detained for more than 20 days. Certainly, we need to wait and see. And remember that Stephen Miller, who reacts to pictures of children getting seized at the border like Anthony Lane reacts to cartoon women in Pixar movies, is still part of the administration and has his job for a reason.
…the Times is becoming more sensitive to criticism of its reflexive both-sidesism, at least:
3/3 Just to put before-and-after in one msg. (And, congrats to NYT for making the change.) pic.twitter.com/qFz6h6RYgN
— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) June 20, 2018