- The Washington Times - Monday, June 18, 2018

Nearly 70 children are being separated from their parents every day under the Trump administration’s zero tolerance border policy, a top Democratic senator said Monday, suggesting the pace of separations has increased in recent weeks.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said 2,342 children were separated between May 5 and June 9, for a rate of about 67 children per day. That’s up from 47.5 children per day in the last batch of numbers Homeland Security released.

The growth suggests that the separation — and the zero tolerance policy — has not cut down on the flow of illegal immigrants coming to the U.S., undercutting one of the goals the administration laid out when it announced the policy.

“There’s no law requiring the separation of families. President Trump could end this immoral policy today. If he won’t, Congress must act,” Mrs. Feinstein said.

She has introduced legislation that would prohibit separations in nearly every case. The bill would create a family loophole in immigration law, granting lenient treatment to anyone who arrives at the border with a child in tow.

The legislation is unlikely to pass — but even Republicans are complaining about the zero tolerance policy.

Homeland Security says that if parents show up at legal ports of entry to claim asylum, they won’t be separated from their children. But if they jump the border, they will be separated while they sit in jail — as are U.S. citizens who are accused of crimes and who land in jail.

The illegal immigrants are usually serving only a couple days’ time in jail, and then sentenced to time served and released back into the immigration system. They are supposed to be reunited with their children at that point.

Of the more than 2,300 separations Mrs. Feinstein reported, it’s not clear how many of those have already been reunited.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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