WASHINGTON—White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the executive order to keep families together after they cross illegally won’t last.
“This will only last a short amount of time, because we’re going to run out of space, we’re going to run out of resources in order to keep people together,” Sanders said on June 25. “Congress still has to step up. They still have to do their job.”
Adults are still eligible for prosecution for illegally entering the country under the zero tolerance policy announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told reporters on June 25 that his agency had temporarily stopped referring adults with children for prosecution after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to keep families together.
Normally, in the United States, if an adult is apprehended for a crime, their children do not accompany them to jail. Last year, more than 20,000 children were placed into foster care while their parents were incarcerated.
However, Trump faced outrage about the approximately 2,000 children who had been placed in the custody of Health and Human Services after their parents brought them across the border illegally.
“The president certainly supports keeping families together, which he has outlined several times over the last week, but he’s also called on Congress to actually fix the system,” Sanders said.
Congress has failed to pass any substantial immigration legislation this year, with four bills dying in the Senate in February. Last week, the most comprehensive bill, introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), failed.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said a compromise immigration bill will be voted on July 27.
He said the bill, the Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018, has a provision to keep families together at the border.