REUTERS – Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, speaking at a national security forum on Capitol Hill on Thursday (June 21), stressed that the priority of the Trump administration was to get comprehensive immigration legislation passed.
“What the president did yesterday is to try to make clear that what we don’t need to do as Americans is pit the enforcement of law against our humanitarian ideas. So we need to do both at the same time,” she said.
“But I want to be very clear on this: Congress has the authority and responsibility to make the law of the land and to fix the immigration system,” Nielsen added.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday (June 20) backed down and abandoned his policy of separating immigrant children from their parents on the U.S.-Mexico border, after images of youngsters in cages sparked outrage at home and abroad.
Trump signed an executive order requiring immigrant families be detained together when they are caught entering the country illegally for as long as their criminal proceedings take.
While that may end a policy that drew a rebuke from Pope Francis and everyone else from human rights advocates to business leaders, it may also mean immigrant children remain in custody indefinitely.
The Trump administration still faces legal challenges because of a court order that put a 20-day cap on how long immigration authorities may detain minors, and trigger fresh criticism of Trump’s hardline immigration policies, which were central to his 2016 election campaign and now his presidency.