House Bill Would End Most Separation of Kids at Border

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House Republican leaders are reworking a compromise immigration bill to include a provision that modifies — but doesn’t completely end — the “zero tolerance” policy being enforced now by the Trump administration, NPR reports. Under the new legislation, children would be held in the same place as their parents if they are detained. About 2,000 children have been separated from their parents after crossing the Southwest border illegally in the past six weeks. Public pushback to young children being housed separately in detention centers has put pressure on Congress to end the practice. Even House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), an immigration hard-liner, backs the changes to the administration’s policy in the compromise bill. He stressed there would be exceptions, noting that adults with offenses other than illegal entry would not be able to stay with their children. “Parents who want to have their children with them and they’re awaiting a trial on the violation of the law for entering the country illegally, we’re going to work to make sure that that is possible,” he said.

The White House policy had been meant to be a deterrent by persuading those who were considering trying to cross the border not to do so, even if they were seeking asylum in the U.S. by fleeing violence in their home country. Goodlatte admitted that the compromise bill crafted by House Speaker Paul Ryan, with input from conservatives and centrists, has a better chance of passing than his own more stringent proposal. The compromise bill still isn’t assured passage. That version and Goodlatte’s bill are scheduled for House votes on Thursday.

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