This might be a reasonable time to expect action from Congress. It might also be a reasonable time to expect the White House to budge, and change a policy even the president – and, notably, a bipartisan succession of first ladies, past and current – profess not to like.
But for the umpteenth time comes a reminder that these are not normal times. The crisis of children separated from their parents at the border is crashing into the realities of both legislative paralysis and White House policy prescriptions that are simultaneously stubborn and shifting.
“We want a safe country, and it starts with the borders, and that’s the way it is,” President Donald Trump declared Monday.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images, FILEPresident Donald Trump speaks to the press before departing the White House for the G7 summit in Washington, DC, June 8, 2018.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The public doesn’t want it to be, either: Two-thirds of Americans – 66 percent in a new Quinnipiac University poll – oppose the policy that causes separated families.
But 55 percent of Republicans in the poll support the policy. It’s a reminder that Trump thrives on divisions like this one – and that he views his base’s support as a self-refreshing mandate.
When Trump huddles with House Republicans on Tuesday, they could agree to end the current policy – by administrative order, or with a new law – regardless of the complications posed by proposals surrounding DACA recipients, a border wall and the other usual suspects.
That’s exceedingly unlikely to happen, of course. Instead, the president and lawmakers on Capitol Hill seem due for more mistrust and gamesmanship, while a policy continues to have heartbreaking consequences.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
A conversation about immigration reform in this county has morphed, in part, into a more specific conversation about asylum laws.
Taking a step back from the finger-pointing and name-calling, the crisis at the border, and the hundreds of children in government custody, have illuminated urgent questions the country and its leaders must grapple with.
How does one safely seek asylum in the United States? Is the U.S. government open to or prejudiced against asylum applications from Central and South America? What are the standards for asylum claims and are they continuing to change under this administration?
John Moore/Getty Images, FILEU.S. Border Patrol agents take a father and son from Honduras into custody near the U.S.-Mexico border, June 12, 2018, near Mission, Texas.
If thousands of people are risking life and limb to cross the southern border, is the U.S. accepting an adequate number of asylum claims at ports of entry? How many is the country accepting? Should that change? Is the process working?
And what are the standards for imprisonment and deterrence? There are many ways a country can deter criminal behavior, but each nation must set its own limits.
The United Nations’ human rights chief yesterday called for an immediate halt to the practice of separating families apprehended at the border, citing a statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics that locking up children without their parents constituted “government-sanctioned child abuse.”
That opposition from a leader of the international body made clear that how the U.S. answers these big questions at this crucial juncture could change its reputation on the global stage.
The TIP with Matt Fuhrman
After a rough-and-tumble primary election in California earlier this month, Democratic candidate for governor, Gavin Newsom, will campaign today in Los Angeles with his former fierce rival – Antonio Villaraigosa.
Villaraigosa had accused Newsom of boosting a Republican challenger in order to keep fellow Democrats like himself out of the state’s top-two general election in November.
Villaraigosa ultimately came in third place behind Republican businessman John Cox.
But today Villaraigosa will throw his support behind Newsom in a joint press conference at Homeboy Industries, a charity that helps reformed former gang members.
Such is politics.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“To blame previous administrations for a wrong committed today is not acceptable. The Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security should make the call today. If the administration does not fix this and fast, we in Congress must.” – Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski in a statement Monday calling on the White House to end its immigration enforcement policy that leads to separated families.
NEED TO READ
President Trump blames Democrats, doubles down on immigration amid backlash. As the outcry over the nearly 2,000 child separations caused as a result of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal border crossings grows, the president doubled down on his controversial policies and blamed them on Democrats. (Jordyn Phelps) https://abcn.ws/2MCCaIj
Pushing back on Trump, all Senate Democrats now back bill to stop family separations. Senate Democrats are pushing back on President Donald Trump’s false attack that they’re to blame for immigrant children being separated from their parents, saying Monday all 49 of them now have signed on to new legislation that would halt the practice. (Mariam Khan) https://abcn.ws/2t9jF5X
Nielsen defends family separation as simply enforcing the law: ‘We will not apologize.’ “To a select few in the media, Congress and the advocacy community, I’d like to start with a message for you: this department will no longer stand by and watch you attack law enforcement for enforcing the laws passed by Congress,” Nielsen said. (Luke Barr) https://abcn.ws/2M04Jhy
Governors won’t send Guard units to border if family separation continues. Three governors, including one Republican, say they will send National Guard units to the U.S.-Mexico border if the Trump administration continues its practice of removing children from their parents who cross the border illegally. (Stephanie Ebbs) https://abcn.ws/2JYc40H
All 5 first ladies speak out against family-separation immigration policy. All five living first ladies have weighed in on the Trump administration’s immigration policy this week, an unusual move even as Melania Trump had her spokeswoman issue a statement on it. (Stephanie Ebbs) https://abcn.ws/2JZuQaZ
Border crisis roils key campaigns in the battle for Congress. Candidates across the country and from both parties in key midterm races are grappling with how to respond to the backlash over the controversial separation of undocumented immigrants and their young children at the U.S.-Mexico border. (John Verhovek) https://abcn.ws/2ymMxgf
Trump directs creation of ‘space force’ as sixth branch of military. “It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space,” Trump said at a meeting of the National Space Council. (Stephanie Ebbs) https://abcn.ws/2t4xNh4
Everything you need to know about Trump’s ‘Space Force.’ Despite opposition from top military officials, Trump has long expressed an interest in developing a separate space force. Here’s what we know about its possible creation. (Elizabeth McLaughlin and Luis Martinez) https://abcn.ws/2MBp6Tt
Using Trump’s term, Pentagon suspends plans for ‘wargame’ with South Korea. The Pentagon has suspended planning for a major military exercise in August in South Korea as a direct result of President Donald Trump’s pledge to stop “wargames” following the Singapore summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. (Luis Martinez) https://abcn.ws/2ykMykU
A conservative Republican senator calls for action on ‘acute’ suicide crisis for LGBTQ youth. “A suicide epidemic has touched all sectors of our society,” Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said. “But the problem is particularly acute among LGBT youth who experience bullying and discrimination at every turn.” (Karolina Rivas) https://abcn.ws/2ylRKEV
Supreme Court puts off weighing in on partisan gerrymandering. The Supreme Court on Monday put off weighing in on whether gerrymandering is unconstitutional – allowing, for now, maps in Wisconsin and Maryland to stand. (Stephanie Ebbs) https://abcn.ws/2JXma1G
The Washington Post analyzes how images of separated children are shaping the immigration debate. https://wapo.st/2HZTvHu
The New York Times dives into Lupe Valdez’s challenges in the Texas governor’s race. https://nyti.ms/2t7IiQJ
Listen to children who’ve just been separated from their parents at the border in audio obtained by ProPublica from inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility. https://bit.ly/2t7WdG9
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