A ‘binary choice’ option is for the government to detain asylum-seeking families together for up to 20 days, then give parents a choice — lengthy stays in family detention with their children as their case proceeds, or allow children to be taken to a government shelter so other guardians can seek custody.
The White House is considering plans that could again separate parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border, hoping to reverse soaring numbers of families attempting to cross illegally into the U.S., the Washington Post reports. One option is for the government to detain asylum-seeking families together for up to 20 days, then give parents a choice — stay in family detention with their child for months or years as their immigration case proceeds, or allow children to be taken to a government shelter so other relatives or guardians can seek custody. That option — called “binary choice” — is one of several under consideration amid the president’s frustration over border security
President Trump has been unable to fulfill key promises to build a border wall and end “catch and release,” a process begun under past administrations in which most detained families are quickly freed to await immigration hearings. The number of family members arrested and charged with illegally crossing the border jumped 38 percent in August and is at a record level. Officials say they are not planning to revive the chaotic forced separations carried out in May and June that spawned a political backlash and led to a court order to reunite families. White House adviser Stephen Miller is advocating for tougher measures, saying the springtime separations worked as an effective deterrent to illegal crossings. At least 2,500 children were taken from their parents over six weeks. Crossings by families declined slightly in May, June and July before surging again in August. September numbers are expected to be higher. “Career law enforcement professionals in the U.S. government are working to analyze and evaluate options that would protect the American people, prevent the horrific actions of child smuggling, and stop drug cartels from pouring into our communities,” said deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley.