Bowing to domestic and international pressure, US President Donald Trump signed an executive order ending separation of migrant families that illegally cross the US-Mexico border by detaining parents and children together.
Images of children in tears separated from their parents and held in metal cages had caused international outrage and upset even some Republican leaders prompting Trump to soften his administration’s zero tolerance policy on illegal immigrants.
Trump said compassion is aroused by the sight of families being separated but in the same breath, he maintained that the US will have strong borders with Mexico and it will continue to act tough with illegal immigrants.
The Trump administration began enforcing its zero tolerance policy on immigrants in May. When the move drew criticism lawmakers, the president said the only alternative is opening the floodgate to illegal immigrants and allow the country to be overrun by criminals and other undesirable elements.
Of the two bills to be approved by the House of Representatives to keep detained immigrant families together, one proposes additional funding to the department of homeland security (DHS) to ensure housing and care for families during criminal proceedings against parents, Speaker Paul Ryan said.
Families will remain together under DHS custody throughout their legal proceedings, he said.
Besides immigrants from Mexico, people fleeing violence and poverty arrive in the US from Central America’s Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.
The pope tweeted that saving the life of such people is an act of humanity.