Family Separation Ends in Detention

Congress was unable to act to put a legislative end to family separation. Congress’ inaction led President Trump, on June 20, 2018, to issue an executive order addressing family separation at the border.


An executive order is a directive of the President and is enforceable by members of the executive branch until it is overturned by a court or by a law made by Congress.

The executive order first addresses those coming to the border without visas or valid travel documents. The order makes clear, the policy going forward will now be, without prior permission, coming to the border is at least a crime of improper entry and is punishable by fine or imprisonment.

Secondly, the executive order addresses family separation. The policy is now to detain families together unless doing so poses a risk to the child in which case the child will be taken from the parents or guardians and detained elsewhere. What a risk to a child might be is undefined. This leaves open the possibility for children to be separated from their families when they reach the border but, the general spirit of the law is to keep families together.


This executive order has imposed barriers to those seeking asylum. It has previously been this nation’s policy that if someone has a credible fear for which they cannot seek or receive relief in their home country they could come to the border and ask for protection. This is now punishable by fine or imprisonment.

The order does not address how the thousands of children currently separated from their families will be reunited with them or what efforts will be taken to help these displaced families.    For questions about this or other Immigration Law concerns, please contact Christina Back at or call 937-223-1130.


AUTHOR: Christie Back