DHS chief John Kelly: We might separate illegal immigrant children from their parents after they've been detained

A leftover from yesterday. The reaction from the left is exactly what you’d expect:

U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat whose district includes about 200 miles (320 km) of the border with Mexico, slammed the proposal. “Bottom line: separating mothers and children is wrong,” he said in a statement.

“That type of thing is where we depart from border security and get into violating human rights,” he said…

Implementing the new policy proposal “could create lifelong psychological trauma,” said Marielena Hincapie, executive director at the National Immigration Law Center. “Especially for children that have just completed a perilous journey from Central America.”

“Children should stay with their parents!” they cried. To which border hawks reply, “We agree!” Detain the family together so that young kids aren’t suddenly on their own, in the custody of HHS bureaucrats, in a strange country where some people don’t even speak their language. Here’s the part you won’t hear from amnesty shills, though: The reason DHS is forced to consider separating children from parents isn’t because Trump and John Kelly want to make life harder gratuitously for illegal immigrants and their kids. It’s because the Ninth Circuit has tied their hands and forced them to choose: Either they can separate children from parents or they can let the entire family go. Those are their only options.

President Obama’s immigration policy was dealt another blow Wednesday when the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s opinion that child migrants who are accompanied by a parent and currently in family detention should be quickly released

“This decision makes it clear that the Obama administration can no longer detain accompanied children for long periods of time in unlicensed, locked-down facilities,” said Peter Schey, one of the lead plaintiff attorneys and president of the Los Angeles-based nonprofit Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law…

The appeals court opinion, however, dismissed [the lower court’s] opinion that the accompanying parents or adults of the children may have the right to be released, stating that the Flores settlement only focuses on children.

DHS can detain the parents for some time, but the little ones have to be freed “quickly.” That means either separating children from mom and dad or — ta da — “catch and release,” in which the entire family is let go with a warning that they must appear for an immigration hearing — whereupon they disappear into the United States, never to be seen again. The alternative to family separation, in other words, is de facto residence for the entire family illegally in the U.S. Go figure that people in Mexico who are planning a run at the border, knowing that this is how America’s inane immigration system works, would find it very valuable to bring children with them. That child is potentially your ticket out of federal detention thanks to the Ninth Circuit ruling. That’s what Kelly’s concerned about in the clip: Right now, because the court has prioritized quick release for kids, illegal immigrants have every incentive to bring children with them no matter how dangerous the journey might be. Some, in fact, are doubtless bringing kids with them who aren’t their own. If you’re Kelly and you’re out to deter illegal immigration, what choice do you have but separation, even knowing how poorly it’ll play politically?

Trump’s last best hope here is Neil Gorsuch and the four conservatives on the Court, who’ll hopefully overturn that Ninth Circuit ruling barring family detention if it involves kids. Until then, though, he’s stuck with this or “catch and release,” which of course is precisely the policy that people like Cuellar and Hincapie want. Speaking of which, in lieu of an exit question, go read this surreal NYT piece from a few days ago lamenting the plight of poor illegals who … have had a valid deportation order issued against them by an immigration judge and who have simply ignored it, choosing to remain in the U.S. as fugitives. This is the system working in its most basic, orderly way, with a hearing and an adjudication against the accused, and still there’s a stench about the Times piece that Trump insisting on enforcing these orders signals a new dark age. The liberal goal, as ever, is zero enforcement.