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Schiff: Nielsen privately said family separations could resume

The Hill logo The Hill 6/21/2018 John Bowden
Adam Schiff wearing a suit and tie © Provided by The Hill

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Thursday said that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has privately told lawmakers that the Trump administration's family separation practice could resume despite the president signing an executive order to end the practice.

In a tweet, the California Democrat wrote that he was urging members of the House Appropriations Committee to ensure that no funding would be made available if the policy is restarted.

"Secretary Nielsen privately told lawmakers the Administration may go back to separating children from their parents," Schiff tweeted.

"Congress must ensure that NEVER happens. I'm urging the House Appropriations Committee to prevent funds from ever being used to separate families entering the US."

Schiff's comments come one day after the president signed an executive order halting the practice of separating families of undocumented immigrants who cross the border illegally. The order would allow families to be detained together while adults face possible prosecution.

The Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy for illegal immigration, enacted earlier this year, mandates that all adults who cross the border illegally be prosecuted. The policy has led to the separation of thousands of children from their parents, some for months at a time.

The administration on Thursday said it was working on plans to reunite families that have already been separated by the policy, while Democrats have blasted the administration for not beginning the process already.

"It seems that the administration lacks a plan, intention, and a sense of urgency to begin reuniting these children - many of whom have suffered serious emotional anguish - with their parents," Democratic leaders wrote to Trump in a letter.

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