US immigration

Protests, facility visits planned amid US immigration confusion

Democratic lawmakers planned to visit detention facilities in Texas

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 June, 2018, 4:28am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 June, 2018, 4:28am

Protests and rallies focused around the separation of families at the US-Mexico border are scheduled this weekend, while more than two dozen congressional Democrats planned to visit detention facilities in Texas.

More than 2,300 children were taken from their families in recent weeks under a Trump administration “zero tolerance” policy in which people entering the US illegally face being prosecuted.

Parents and children were being detained separately. But after public outcry, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered that they be brought back together.

Confusion has ensued, with parents left searching for their children.

Events planned include a rally Saturday in Fort Worth, where the Texas Democratic convention is being held, and a protest in Homestead, Florida.

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The Democratic lawmakers planned to visit detention facilities in the Texas cities of McAllen and Los Fresnos. About a dozen people demonstrated ahead of the delegation’s arrival in McAllen wearing white T-shirts that said, “I want my mommy.”

Tens of thousands of immigrants travelling with their families have been caught on the southwest border in recent years, many fleeing gang violence in Central America.

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About 9,000 such family units have been caught in each of the last three months, according to US border authorities.

The Trump administration announced plans in April to prosecute all immigrants caught along the southwest border with illegally entering the country. Parents were jailed and children taken to government-contracted shelters.

Now, the administration says it will continue with prosecutions and seek to detain families together during their immigration proceedings.

Immigration officials have said they could seek up to 15,000 beds in family detention facilities, and the Pentagon is drawing up plans to house as many as 20,000 unaccompanied immigrant children on military bases.