Trump administration imposes rule to detain migrant families indefinitely

Vastavam web: The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled a rule that allows officials to detain migrant families indefinitely while judges consider whether to grant them asylum in the United States, abolishing a previous 20-day limit. The rule, which is certain to draw a legal challenge, would replace a 1997 court settlement that limits the amount of time U.S. immigration authorities can detain migrant children. That agreement is generally interpreted as meaning families must be released within 20 days.

It was the Republican administration’s third major regulation restricting immigration in little more than a month, all during an unsettled period when senior immigration officials hold “acting” titles lacking U.S. Senate confirmation.

Trump has made cracking down on legal and illegal immigration a hallmark of his presidency after campaigning in 2016 on a promise, so far unfulfilled, that Mexico would pay for a border wall to keep migrants from entering the United States.

On July 15 the administration unveiled a rule to bar almost all immigrants from applying for asylum at the southern border, and on Aug. 12 it announced regulation denying visas and permanent residency for those who fail to make enough money.

Multiple lawsuits were filed within days of the two previous immigration rules. Legal challenges have held up many of Trump’s initiatives, but immigration advocates say he has managed to build an “invisible wall” through executive actions bypassing Congress.

Critics counter that Trump and Stephen Miller, his aide on immigration, are using a series of heartless policies to animate hard-core political supporters.

“The administration is seeking to codify child abuse, plain and simple,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, said in a statement, adding that she expected a federal judge would strike down the new rule. Mexico’s Foreign Ministry expressed concern over the plan, saying in a statement that it would consider legal action.

Paediatricians have said children may suffer numerous negative physical and emotional symptoms from detention, even if only brief. The American Psychoanalytic Association on Wednesday branded the Trump policies as “psychological warfare.” Officials said the families would receive mental health treatment and other services in facilities that are held to high standards of care.

“They’re campus-like settings with educational, medical, dining and separate, private living facilities,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told Fox News. Robyn Barnard, an attorney for the nonprofit organisation Human Rights First, challenged that characterization, saying that just because a facility is in a pastoral setting does not make it more humane.