In the past several weeks, the administration has escalated its efforts to detain, deport, and deter asylum seekers, particularly those from Central America. The administration has used a "zero-tolerance" policy of prosecuting misdemeanor border crossings to justify the separation of thousands of immigrant and refugee children from their parents, though it also separates many families outside of the prosecution context. As resistance to the en masse separation of newly arrived immigrant families mounted, President Trump issued an Executive Order to expand detention capacity for immigrant families. The Order directs administration officials to swiftly construct new family detention facilities as well as use existing Department of Defense facilities to detain immigrant families, and it seeks reversal of a longstanding court settlement that sets standards for the detention conditions of immigrant children. The Order does not direct administration officials to stop separating immigrant families. In addition, through a rarely used procedural mechanism, Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned a precedential case that had offered a clear path to asylum for many survivors of domestic and familial violence.
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