As BettyC posted, it is being reported that the President blinked and is going to use an Executive Order to back down and end the family separation policy that he and Attorney General Sessions implemented on the advice of Stephen Miller. The New York Times has the details (emphasis mine):
President Trump is preparing to issue an executive order as soon as Wednesday that ends the separation of families at the border by indefinitely detaining parents and children together, according to a person familiar with the White House plans.
Mr. Trump’s executive order would seek to get around an existing 1997 consent decree, known as the Flores settlement, that prohibits the federal government from keeping children in immigration detention — even if they are with their parents — for more than 20 days.
“We’re going to be signing an executive order in a little while,” Mr. Trump said Wednesday. “We’ve got to be keeping families together.”
The order would keep families together, though it is unclear how Mr. Trump intends to claim the legal authority to violate what have been legal constraints on the proper treatment of children in government custody, which prevented former President Barack Obama from detaining families together during a similar flood of illegal immigration two years ago.
And the president could quickly find himself the subject of another legal challenge to his executive authority, much the way he attacked Mr. Obama for abusing the power of his office with an immigration executive order in 2014.
While Mr. Trump’s actions appear to stop short of calls for an end to the “zero tolerance” policy, it would be a remarkable retreat for a president who has steadfastly refused to apologize in almost any other context. And it would be a testament to the political power of the images of the immigrant children to move public opinion.
People close to the president said he remains convinced that his immigration policies are appropriate and necessary. But Mr. Trump is said to be increasingly frustrated by the criticism he is getting, and aware that he is boxed in by the legal argument his administration has made.
Aides said that Mr. Trump is aware that his actions could once again be tied up in lengthy court battles. But the president and his allies believe that taking action would put pressure on Democrats by eliminating the criticism that Mr. Trump is separating children from their parents.
The lawyer who tweets as NYCSouthpaw is all over the shenanigans here:
And so internment it is. The family case management program that Trump terminated worked well, did not endanger public safety, and would avoid this new horror. https://t.co/eUbusfgOJW
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) June 20, 2018
Josh Marshall’s analysis is spot on:
The actual aim seems to be to pick a fight with the courts and allow separations to continue while blaming judges. According to The New York Times, the President will sign an executive order allowing children to be detained indefinitely with their parents. The problem is that that violates a 1997 consent decree saying that you can’t detain/imprison children for more than 20 days (technically what’s currently happening isn’t detention). It straight up violates that order. So what will almost inevitably happen is that a court will step in, say you can’t do that and then Trump will announce that the judge is forcing him to keep separating families.
The President telegraphed this during his remarks to the National Federation of Independent Business when he went on a rant about judges, especially immigration judges, how they were chosen, and that it was all a scam.
As far as appearances are concerned it looks like the President blinked. It looks like he’s deescalating and backing down in the face of all the negative imagery and the negative public response and push back. Keep the Trump Doctrine – “I will be treated fairly or else…” in mind. The President, as The New York Times reported, believes that his policies are “appropriate and necessary”. That all he’s doing is trying put America First and Make it Great Again! He will interpret the negative responses that he’s received as not being treated fairly. He is incapable of accepting defeat, especially a very public one that makes him look weak. An “or else” is coming. And it will likely be ugly and brutal!
But beyond the need to even the scales, DHS and HHS and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) still cannot account for all the toddlers and haven’t even tried to account for the girls. They don’t even have that information!!!
During a press briefing Tuesday, reporters repeatedly asked for an age breakdown of the children who have been taken. Officials from both law enforcement & HHS said they didn't how many children were under 5, under 2, or even so little they're non-verbal. https://t.co/JOeVQTGueN
— erica orden (@eorden) June 20, 2018
DHS, HHS, and ORR has no idea who a lot of these kids are, especially the younger and youngest (pre-verbal) ones. The younger ones may not know how to spell their names yet, if one parent has a different last name from the other, they may not know that either. And the pre-verbal ones can’t even answer these questions. And all of them have been traumatized unlike anything most of us can imagine, even with ProPublica’s publishing of the audio on Monday, which is going to make it even harder for them to identify themselves. I’m pretty sure DHS, HHS, and ORR actually don’t have much of an idea where they all are. And a significant amount of parents have been given no guidance on how to get their children back.
Immigration lawyer representing separated parents tells me *none of his clients* have received *any paperwork* on how to find their kids https://t.co/JYoRuBfKeF
— Betsy Woodruff (@woodruffbets) June 20, 2018
A skirmish has been won. A specific objective – rescinding the policies that separate families – has been partially achieved. This is positive. But these children are still at risk and in danger. The current administration, understaffed on purpose and by design in order to fail under a crisis, has no capability to actually resolve the crisis they’ve created. It is appropriate to take a bit of time today, catch your breath, relax and rest up, so that the pressure can be maintained and increased starting tomorrow. We need to keep asking where are the toddlers and where are the girls. And demanding answers to those two questions. We need to keep asking how the reunifications are going to happen because there is no plan in place to do this and it is clear they have don’t have even a partial clue as to how to make these reunifications happen.
NEW: In the past week I have spoken to people on the frontline of family separation — U.S. officials, federal public defenders, childcare providers receiving an influx of kids.
Their message: there is no functioning system in place for reunification. https://t.co/MMKizRdcBP
— Ryan Devereaux (@rdevro) June 19, 2018
We need to keep pushing for an end to not just the zero tolerance policy, but also a change to the policy within CBP to prevent anyone from entering at an official point of entry so they can claim asylum.
So somewhere inside CBP/DHS there’s some memo instructing CBP officers at ports of entry to tell people they’re full and to come back. I’d love to see that memo.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 19, 2018
Get some rest, you all did good. But this battle is far from over. The President, the Republican Party, movement conservatism all need to be made to own this. If the GOP majority on the House Oversight Committee can, with straight faces, hold hearings on June 19, 2018 about Secretary Clinton’s emails to continue to run interference for the President and their own failures as a governing majority; the President, the GOP, and the movement conservatism and the white conservative Christians that enable and support them can all be made to own this and have it shoved in their faces every day until the end of time!
Updated at 4:15 PM EDT
Here’s the meat of the EO the President just signed:
Here’s the meat of the executive order Pres Trump just signed: pic.twitter.com/kmybuIRAW6
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) June 20, 2018
#Where are the toddlers? #Where are the girls? #Republican concentration camps for kids!!!!!
Stay angry! Stay ready!