You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Trump’s immigration retreat is a victory for popular resistance.

Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The New York Times reports that the president has come up with a make-shift solution that will end the family separation policy he created but not end the fundamental issues, which will likely be taken up by the courts. “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,” the Times writes. “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.”

The keeping of families indefinitely creates a new problem, since it will almost certainly be challenged in courts. Still, whatever problems there are with indefinite detention, Trump is surrendering on the hostage taking situation he created. Prior to this executive order, the White House was using separated children as leverage to force Democrats to sign a Trump-friendly immigration deal. Jailed children will no longer be leverage in the negotiations. 

Trump’s surrender on this point is a significant victory for popular resistance to his policies. The  family separation policy excited massive opposition, fuelled by shocking photographs of caged children and an audio recording of crying kids. On Tuesday night, Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of homeland security, was hounded out of a Mexican restaurant by protesters shouting “shame!” 

Cato Institute fellow Julian Sanchez had some important caveats about the pending executive order:

The immigration battle is far from over, but it’s moving on to terrain that is far less dangerous than the whims of Trump and his advisors.