President Trump Ends Family Separations, Stands Firm On ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy

Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, said he said President Donald Trump’s decision to reverse the policy on separating families at the border was the result of a “huge backlash” against the policy. (Photo by Satabeth Henne/Cronkite News)

By Sarabeth Henne

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered immigration officials to keep undocumented immigrant families together, after weeks of mounting criticism over his administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that led to the separation of families at the border.

His executive order does not reverse the zero-tolerance policy, and adults caught at the border will still be referred for criminal prosecution or held while their asylum claims are assessed. But for now they will no longer have their children taken away from them – families will instead be held together in custody.

“We’re keeping families together, and this will solve that problem,” Trump said, according to a transcript of the signing event. “At the same time, we are keeping a very powerful border and it continues to be a zero tolerance. We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally.”

But Democrats – who rallied against the family separations by bringing children from immigrant communities to the House floor earlier Wednesday to put a face on the crisis – were not satisfied by the executive order.

“I don’t care how much lipstick you put on this pig. You’re not going to turn it into a silk purse,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson. “There was a huge backlash on this policy, and I think it got to the point where you didn’t have a choice, he took it back, accepted the fact that he was responsible for it.”

The zero-tolerance policy, announced in April by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, calls for the criminal prosecution of anyone caught trying to enter the country illegally.

An offshoot of the policy was the separation of families that showed up at the border, since immigration officials are only allowed to hold families for 20 days before they have to be released. Rather than do that, they have been separating families and holding children in detention centers apart from their parents.

Customs and Border Protection officials said Tuesday that, from May 5 to June 9 they had taken 2,342 children from their parents after attempted crossings at the Southwest border.

Images of children being taken from their parents have made headlines and stirred opposition from a growing number of Republicans as well as Democrats.

-Cronkite News video by Pat Poblete

“It is psychological torture what this administration is doing, and the Republicans in Congress are tolerating it,” said Rep. Joe Crowley, D-New York, at a rally Wednesday morning. “They are promoting it, promoting psychological torture against these young children, and it’s a scar not only on their lives but on the country we love.”

Bills have been introduced in both chambers and from both sides of the aisle with the goal of reversing the family separation policy. The Democrats who rallied Wednesday were there to support a bill by Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, campanion to a Senate bill, while in the Senate 27 Republican senators – including Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – have signed onto a bill to keep families together.

Both Flake and fellow Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain have blasted the policy of family separation, and called on Trump to end it.

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But Trump continues to insist that Congress caused the problem in the first place, by failing to act on immigration legislation that would have addressed what he called problems in the current law that put his administration “in the position of separating alien families to effectively enforce the law.”

The president said Wednesday he was not backing down in the face of criticism, but “affording Congress an opportunity to address family separation,” as the order was titled. The order said it is the administration’s policy “to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources.”

“We will be going through Congress. We’re working on a much more comprehensive bill,” Trump said. “A lot of good things are happening toward immigration, and proper immigration. But we have to have strong borders.”

Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, who was at the White House to discuss border regulation Wednesday, agreed that it is Congress’ responsibility to “permanently repair our broken immigration system and prevent this from happening in the future.”

“No one wants to see what’s happening at the border continue,” Lesko said in an emailed statement. “I joined President Trump today at the White House to discuss legislation that will secure our border, fully fund the wall, close immigration loopholes, and allow children to remain with their parents.”

Grijalva isn’t hopeful, especially with midterm elections coming up in November.

“Unfortunately, we will continue on this path until the American people give clear direction in November as to needing this to be resolved,” he said. “The issue that Republicans are going to grab on to will be this issue, and they’re hoping that somehow it’s can to help them retain the power they have in Congress.”


  1. The idiot leftists do not understand that these kids will now be incarcerated with their parents just so they will not be separated, because the parents still have to deal with breaking the laws. Save the children and build the wall.


  3. Raul Grijalva is another scumbag Democrat who used the tax payer funded committee operation budget to pay off a former staffer who claimed Raul Grijalva was often drunk and created a hostile workplace environment. Of course, has this been covered by any of the national cable news outlets? Of course not!

  4. Parents of illegals write their phone number on their clothing and send them off through the desert in hopes that they will also get to come in and be reunited with them. There are children claiming asylum from Central America and it makes me wonder why Mexico doesn’t offer them asylum. Oh wait, do they have a welfare system, or health care for indigent, or quality schools, or good paying jobs?

    So Mexico has a porous border that allows everybody to come through.

    Send them our bills. They are being a terrible neighbor. And they should pay for their side of the wall.

  5. As I was saying….For my friends on the Right — With the president now reversing himself, is he now a sellout? Or just another swamp-dwelling politician bowing to political pressure? Or, for the misogynists among you, maybe he is “p—y-whipped,” since it seems his wife and daughter leaned hard on him to not separate families.

    For my friends on the Left: Ms. Valentino’s point yesterday asks good questions, so was Obama more of a Trumpster than President Trump now is? And why weren’t we speaking out? Is it that we didn’t know, or that we didn’t want to know? I’m reading The Corner, by journalist David Simon and teacher/former cop Edward Burns, a powerful book now over 20 years old, about the drug addict life in an inner-city, and it’s only gotten worse. The War on Drugs is an abject failure, and there needs to be bipartisan discussion, intelligent discussion and carefully considered action, with The Corner as a good starting point.

    Just as there needs to be a ramping down of the hate rhetoric from both sides, bipartisan discussion, intelligent discussion and carefully considered action on immigration. We are, after all a nation of immigrants who built this country. A starting point might be the U.S. responsibility — support for dictators, wars in Central America, NAFTA, maquiladoras, the millions of Americans buying illegal drugs.

    “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” Those words on the Stature of Liberty speak to what really makes America great.

    • Unfortunately your hate trumps your comprehension. Trump did not reverse his policy. He ended catch and release. It’s done.

      If the cockroaches and criminals flooding our borders want the children they smuggle (who may or may not be their kids) to share a cell with them, all good by me. Lock em up. Kick em out.

      Have you ever read the US Constitution? It’s really quite short and simple, should be within your comprehension range.

      • Yes — I especially like Amendment XIV which says, “…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without the due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction n the equal protection of the laws.” You must have missed that part. It very clearly distinguishes between “citizens” and “persons.”

        As to “cockroaches and criminals”…., well, we obviously have enough buggy people of our own — just look at the ADI comments! — and as for criminals, well, if our fellow Americans would stop buying illegal drugs, those violent cartels would fade away. Meanwhile, with the capitalist mantra of supply and demand at work, they see a need and fill it and make lots of money, which millions of Americans are willing to pay.

        Let’s fix our nation without dumping on those trying to escape the violence unleashed by our addictions, our greed, our wars. Especially not the children.

  6. Picture Rocks would be an ideal location for an illegal alien detention center. I’m sure the community there would welcome it and be very supportive.

  7. “I don’t care how much lipstick you put on this pig. You’re not going to turn it into a silk purse,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson. I’m sure he’s the guy to understand lipstick on a pig… it’s his life’s work and it shows. He’s a one trick pig himself, leftist socialist swine in every view and effort… living in the BajaZona – perhaps there should be a campaign to send him all the old lipstick he can wear.

    The ‘America’s’ is their globalist view of Mexico, USA, Canada – one nation with the USA gone as we know it. Its interesting that the next “World Cup ‘soccer games’ will be held in the “America’s” with games in all three of these countries, giving credence to the soccer politics of ‘one America’s’…. the globalist view of ‘one world government’ is what this is about and it is they who are putting the lipstick on this PIG – the insurrection simply a camo of their view of this reality and destruction of this name they are trying to sell by any means possible. If it means use the kids as pawns… so be it they don’t care.

    • Sorry BillyB,
      but your comments should have read:
      Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Sonora.
      He’s never really represented Tucson, he’s clearly only out for himself and his homeland.

      The Oracle

  8. Raul i do not like or support you.

    Stand firm on IMPEACHMENT!!

    That is only Justice for this criminal activity that Trump and his followers have imposed on INNOCENT children.

    We are no longer the beacon for Democracy.

    He is doing all he can to act like Hitler , the criminal.

    I do not support you Raul Grijalva. But maybe one act of righteousness could maybe place you on the list of one good act for the people.

    Richard Hernandez

  9. AS these phony progressives cry for these kids they write planned parenthood checks who then sell body parts…. WICKED FOLKS THEY ARE.

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