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GOP lawmakers preparing to vote on bill allowing migrant children to be detained longer than 20 days: report

The Hill logo The Hill 6/24/2018 Mary Tyler March
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GOP lawmakers are reportedly readying an immigration bill that would allow detained migrant children to stay in detention centers with their parents for more than 20 days, senior White House and Hill officials told ABC News on Saturday.

The bill would overrule a decades-old provision that prohibits the federal government from keeping children in immigration detention centers for more than 20 days.

The news comes days after the Justice Department asked a federal district court to modify the rule, known as the Flores settlement, which runs up against President Trump's recent executive order. The order aimed to stop the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy that led to the separations of thousands of migrant families who had entered the U.S. illegally.

The policy, announced by the Trump administration in April, seeks to aggressively prosecute immigrants who cross into the U.S. illegally via the southern border. Administration officials initially acknowledged the measure could lead to family separations, a practice which they said could deter future illegal immigration attempts.

But the policy was met with swift and steady backlash from both sides of the aisle, as Democrats and Republicans came down on the separations for being "cruel," "immoral," and "un-American."

Seeking to ease to bipartisan pressure, Trump backed down from his administration's policy, signing an executive order on Wednesday to halt migrant family separations.

The order allows most families to remain together while adults await court proceedings, directing the Justice Department to expedite immigration cases involving families. It does not, however, address the futures of the more than 2,000 migrant families who were separated before it was signed.

The House is expected to vote next week on a compromise immigration bill, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for up to 1.8 millions "Dreamers," provide $25 billion for Trump's border wall and other security measures, and prevent families from being separated at the border.

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