Here’s what we know:
What’s happening at the border? The federal government announced an immigration policy of “zero tolerance,” which means all adults who cross the border illegally between official ports of entry will be criminally prosecuted. Since children can’t be sent to federal jail, kids who are detained with their parents are being separated from them. While their parents go through the legal system, children are handed over to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement.
A temporary facility opened Friday at the port of entry at Tornillo. The tent city will hold 360 minors and could expand, The Texas Tribune has reported.
Why is the Trump administration doing this? U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the “zero tolerance” policy in April.
“If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you,” he said the following month. “It’s that simple. … If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law.”
The policy is meant to deter immigrants from attempting to cross the border illegally. Sessions said President Donald Trump won the 2016 election in part thanks to his tough stance on immigration.
“If you want to change our laws, then pass a bill in Congress,” he said. “Persuade your fellow citizens to your point of view.”
Trump, meanwhile, is blaming Democrats: It is the Democrats fault for being weak and ineffective with Boarder Security and Crime. Tell them to start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration. Change the laws! —Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2018.