( Fox News ) The White House is considering executive action to allow children to stay with parents caught crossing the border illegally, Fox News has learned — a step that could avoid the family separations that have triggered a national outcry and political crisis for Republicans.
The action under consideration would allow children to stay in detention with parents for an extended period of time. This comes as congressional Republicans scramble to draft legislation to address the same issue, but face challenges mustering the votes.
The separations stem from the administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which aims to prosecute all illegal border crossers. But because of a 1997 order and related decisions, children cannot be detained for longer than 20 days with the adults.
Sources told Fox News that such an executive action by Trump could be seen to run afoul of the 1997 order and would likely draw a lawsuit. But the White House wants to try to take steps to uphold the enforcement of the law, while at the same time lessening the trauma of children being separated from their parents.
In another possible approach, Fox News is told Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will recommend to Trump that he throw his support behind a standalone bill to close the “loopholes” regarding family detention. Nielsen will recommend that other immigration issues be handled in separate legislation.