MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - President Donald Trump reversed course this week by signing an executive order ending the practice of separating migrant children from their families. Director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota John Keller, however, says there's still a lot of questions left unanswered.
“As long as that zero tolerance policy is something they’re committed to, they haven’t figured the backend of it - is where do we put the human beings, whether they be children or families, while we are applying zero tolerance,” said Keller. “It’s not tenable and it won’t be tenable.”
Keller says one place those children will likely not come is Minnesota unlike reports of young people being sent to places as far from the southern border as New York City and Florida.
“We don’t have a facility approved for children in Minnesota, the closest one is in Chicago,” said Keller.
He says before the zero tolerance policy was implemented, dozens of what are known as “unaccompanied minors” did come to the state to live with relatives such as a parent or uncle. The Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement confirms 164 unaccompanied minors came into the state this way during the current fiscal year, which began in October 2017. During the last fiscal year, 320 unaccompanied minors came to Minnesota. Those numbers, however, do not reflect what's happened since the crackdown.
“We think it hasn’t happened because the administration is keeping these kids locked up for as long as they have,” said Keller.
Meanwhile, the President pushed back against what he called “phony stories of sadness and grief.”
"Where is the media outrage over the catch and release policies that allow deadly drugs to pour into our country? Where is the condemnation of the Democrats sanctuary cities that release violent criminals into our communities and then protect them,” President Trump asked during an appearance with families, whose loved ones were killed by illegal immigrants.
The President also encouraged Republican members of Congress, who have working on an immigration fix, to forget about it until after the midterm elections. The administration is waiting on a court ruling that would allow the Department of Homeland Security to indefinitely detain children along with their parents.