25/06/2018 – Jamaica Gleaner. / RENO, Nevada (AP) – The nation’s top border enforcement official acknowledged Monday that authorities have abandoned, for now, their effort to prosecute immigrant families who cross the southern border after the president ordered an end to the separation of parents and children.
The comments by Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan came shortly after Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the administration’s tactics in a speech in Nevada and asserted that many children were brought to the border by violent gang members.
Together, their remarks added to the nationwide confusion as mothers and fathers struggled to reunite families that were split up by the government and, in many cases, sent to detention centres in different parts of the country.
McAleenan told reporters in Texas that he stopped sending prosecutors cases of parents charged with illegally entering the country in response to Trump’s executive order last week to cease separating families.
McAleenan and Sessions insisted that the administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy remains in effect, but the cases cannot be prosecuted because parents cannot be separated from their children.
The commissioner said he is working on a plan to resume prosecutions.
As many as 2,300 children were separated from their migrant parents from the time the administration adopted the zero-tolerance policy until June 9, officials have said.
The temporary shelter at Tornillo was close to its 360-person capacity.
Reporters were allowed Monday to briefly visit the shelter, where more than 320 children ages 13 to 17 are being held in air-conditioned tents.
A facility administrator told reporters that the main complaint he hears from children on site is that the tents get too cold sometimes.
About half were from Guatemala, and 23 of the children had been separated from adults who accompanied them across the border.