Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, along with others, claims that the recently-negotiated and just released Republican-only bill would end family separation. Vox’s Dara Lind is out with a must-read explainer. Spoiler alert: The GOP is lying.
As Lind explains:
House Speaker Paul Ryan and others are emphasizing a different aspect of the bill. They claim it would prevent the Trump administration from separating children from their parents at the US-Mexico border — a practice the administration made widespread in early May and that has resulted in the separation of hundreds of families a week.
The Republican bill doesn’t outlaw family separation. It doesn’t stop the Trump administration from choosing to prosecute asylum-seekers who enter the US between ports of entry (official border crossings) for illegal entry, which results in parents being sent into criminal custody without their children. And it doesn’t even force the government not to separate parents who do present themselves legally for asylum from their children — something that has also been happening, though isn’t as widespread.
What the House bill does is get rid of the extra legal protections that children and families have in immigration detention: a requirement that children be kept in the “least restrictive” conditions possible, and that they not be detained any longer than necessary. This means that, if the family is kept together, their parents must be released with them. The Trump administration calls those protections “loopholes,” and blames them for “forcing” the administration to keep asylum-seekers in custody by separating families.
If the House bill passed, the Trump administration probably would stop separating families. Instead, it would be able to keep children and parents in ICE detention until their cases were resolved — that is, they could be in held in detention indefinitely.
The Republican summary of the new bill (as reported by Leigh Ann Caldwell of NBC) claims that it ends family separation: “Accompanied alien minors apprehended at the border must not be separated from their parent or legal guardian while in DHS custody.”
There is no language like that in the bill.
The entire piece is a must read, available online here.