On May 7, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Thomas Homan announced that the Trump administration would adopt a “zero tolerance” policy toward anyone caught crossing into the US by Border Patrol. All border crossers would be referred to the Department of Justice, and everyone referred would be prosecuted for the misdemeanor of illegal entry.
In the weeks since, thousands of families have been separated as a result of the policy. Parents have been sent to jail while their children have been labeled “unaccompanied minors” and taken into government custody. (In some cases, this means cages.)
There have been calls for Department of Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen to step down. All four living first ladies have harshly criticized family separation. Republicans have begun speaking out against President Donald Trump, voicing increasing anxiety that this issue will hurt them in the midterms.
Amid mounting public pressure, President Donald Trump on June 20 signed an executive order directing his administration to end family separations, but 2,000 children remain in detention centers across the country. The administration apparently had no process to reunify parents and children when it started separating them. Cities across the country are planning “Families Belong Together” marches to protest the ongoing situation.