BORDER/DHS/IMMIGRATION/MEXICO: “Parents and children caught crossing the Mexican border into the United States illegally generally can remain together, the Homeland Security Department said Wednesday, in a partial reversal of previous comments. Secretary John Kelly told a Senate panel that families would not be separated unless the ‘situation at the time requires it.’ He gave as possible examples if the mother is sick or addicted to drugs. But he said separation would not be routine.
Kelly’s comment to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Oversight committee contrasted with earlier pronouncements that his agency was considering separation as a deterrent to would-be border crossers, mostly from Central America. In written testimony, Kelly said about 1,100 people traveling as families were caught trying to cross the Mexican border into the United States illegally last month.
Immigrant families and children traveling alone have accounted for hundreds of thousands of arrests at the border in recent years, at times overwhelming federal authorities. Kelly said he has not issued a written directive outlining the policy to border agents, but has told employees that he must approve any such separations. In a somewhat tense back and forth with Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Kelly said border agents don’t need a written policy because he’s given the order verbally.”
-Alicia A. Caldwell, “Homeland Security chief backtracks on splitting families,” Associated Press online, April 5, 2017 2:00pm