The standoff between the Democrats and Republicans on the issue of immigrants continues with the President now blaming the Democrats for the enactment of a law that seemingly breaks immigrant families apart. In the new law, any illegal immigrants sneaking into the country in possession of children would have the children taken custody by the Department of Health Human Services while the adults get prosecuted.
This is unlike the previous stipulations where parents were allowed to stay with their children while they await the proceedings.
In defense of the proposed law, the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said that the move was specially meant to deter parents from smuggling children into the country. The strict terms set out in the law were also defended by the president’s chief of staff, John Kelly, who expressed his hope that the law would be sufficient in serving its purpose of minimizing illegal immigration. He revealed that the plan to put the ‘confiscated children under foster care were well underway and would ensure that anyone seeking to find their way into the country illegally would think twice.
The new law has attracted opposition and outcry from numerous groups including human rights groups. Concern was raised that most families moving into the country were seeking asylum or avoiding conflict in the regions of residence and that separating the families would be a significant psychological trauma upon them.
Statements released on Monday by the white house spokesman, Hogan Gidley seemingly deliberately avoided the controversy surrounding the law by stating that the law was categorical in helping contain the issue of illegal immigrants.
In a separate occasion, the attorney general reinforced the ideologies presented under the new law, saying that provisions of persecuting individuals were expanded to include those involved in abating illegal immigration. He, however, added that there was room for filing of asylum requests for individuals who were in genuine need of such help. Falsification of details relating to the asylum seeking applications would, under the new law, attract punitive measures.
Sessions was speaking in California where protesters unsuccessfully tried to distract his media briefing. To step up the enforcement of the law, sessions revealed that he had put in place measures including sending additional lawyers, immigration judges, and prosecutors to work on cases involving handling legal issues surrounding the law, and especially in expediting the process of applying for asylum.