U.S. House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders plan to visit the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego on Monday as pressure increases on the Trump administration to reverse a policy of separating children from their parents at the border.
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Since April, nearly 2,000 children have been detained, and kept in facilities separate from their parents, without contact with their parents or guardians because of a Trump-inspired policy change.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered immigrants who cross into the United States illegally must now be criminally prosecuted instead of having their cases go through civil courts. Children cannot be with their parents in criminal court.
This policy change appears to be part of a political strategy to try and force Democratic support for one of two separate, Republican immigration bills.
Both include billions of dollars to fund a border wall and restrictions on legal immigration but would also, discontinue the separation policy.
U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein is pushing a separate bill that would immediately stop the practice of family separations, but no Republican has publicly supported that measure.
This weekend, several Democratic senators dropped in, unannounced at an immigration detention facility in New Jersey to criticize the Trump administration's policy, while his advisors continued to defend it.
"If I commit a crime and I'm put in jail, my four children are separated from their mother because we don't have a policy of why would you want the children in jail with their parents, you want them in a facility temporarily," Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Here in the Bay Area, hundreds of people spent their Fathers Day at various demonstrations to protest the policy of family separations. The events included a candlelight vigil in San Carolos, a protest outside a Richmond ICE detention center and a march along Grand Avenue in Oakland.
Trump is expected to meet with house Republicans on Tuesday to discuss the immigration bills.