On June 20, 2018, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order (EO) titled “Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation.” The stated purpose of this EO is to confirm the policy of the Administration with regard to immigration and entry of persons at the border. The text of the EO restates the policy stance of this Administration to enforce the immigration laws with regard to entry at the border. The text in the EO restates that a crime of improper entry is subject to a fine or imprisonment. The Administration will continue to initiate proceedings to enforce this provision, among others. In addition, under the “Policy” section of the EO, the Administration states that its policy is to “maintain family unity, including detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.” The text of the EO encourages Congress to act upon legislation that will maintain family unity so that the Administration will not need to separate families to enforce the law.
The EO includes a section titled “Temporary Detention Policy for Families Entering this Country Illegally.” This section includes provisions for illegal entries that will attempt to detain an alien family together, unless there is concern that the welfare of the child is at risk. The Secretary of Defense is tasked with taking all measures to provide facilities, either those already in existence, or to construct them, to be able to house alien families. The heads of other executive departments and agencies are also asked to make available any appropriate facilities. To keep alien families together, the EO contains a provision requiring the Attorney General to file a request with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to modify the Settlement Agreement in Flores v. Sessions, so that alien families can be detained together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings.
As events surrounding the signing of this Executive Order emerge, we will continue to update our blog.