Old and Busted: Zero Tolerance. New Hotness: Catch and Release

AP Image

Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order that purported to continue the enforcement of Zero Tolerance on the border, that is, the charging of every illegal with a criminal violation, in addition to keeping families together. I commented that one paragraph,


The Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary), shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, maintain custody of alien families during the pendency of any criminal improper entry or immigration proceedings involving their members.

Seemed to imply that nothing had changed. There are no new resources immediately available and if Zero Tolerance remained in effect, we were right back to where we were.

The Washington Post reports that is not the case:

The U.S. Border Patrol will no longer refer migrant parents who cross into the United States illegally with children to federal courthouses to face criminal charges, a senior U.S. Customs and Border Protection official told The Washington Post on Thursday.

“We’re suspending prosecutions of adults who are members of family units until ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) can accelerate resource capability to allow us to maintain custody,” the official said.

Because ICE lacks the detention capacity to increase the number of families it holds in detention, the official acknowledged that many migrant parents and children will likely be released from custody while they await court hearings.


The top DHS spokesperson says this isn’t true

“There has been no change to the Department’s zero tolerance policy to prosecute adults who cross our border illegally instead of claiming asylum at any port of entry at the border.”


But there are other reports that indicate that maybe an abandonment of Zero Tolerance is underway in regards to illegal family units:


There is no way to sugar coat this if the WaPo story is true. It is a huge walk back, and a walk back that is done after taking a major public relations hit and getting a lot of allies out front justifying the program. Now they are left high and dry. And his base has to start wondering if he’s going to cave on other border security issues.

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