'Vague', 'worthless': Politicians, activists slam Donald Trump's order on immigration policy, say it won't fix crisis

Even as US president Donald Trump reversed his immigration policy of separating migrant children from their parents and signed an executive order to that effect on Wednesday, politicians, activists and immigration lawyers remained unconvinced and maintained that it did not "fix the crisis".

Buckling under heavy pressure from his fellow Republicans, Democrats and the international community, Trump's spectacular about-face came after more than 2,300 children were stripped from their parents and adult relatives after illegally crossing the border since 5 May and placed in tent camps and other facilities, with no way to contact their relatives.

 Vague, worthless: Politicians, activists slam Donald Trumps order on immigration policy, say it wont fix crisis

File image of US president Donald Trump. AP

"What we have done today is we are keeping families together," Trump said as he signed the executive order. "I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated."

Trump said that even with the change, border enforcement will be "equally tough, if not tougher."

For weeks, Trump had insisted he was bound by the law to split the children from their parents and that only Congress could resolve the problem — before he radically shifted gears.

Following the order, the Democratic House Committee on Homeland Security, condemned the executive order and said that amid the fanfare of his televised signing ceremony, there was no mention of the administration planned to reunite the separated children with their parents.

"Trump is now trying to convince the American people that mandating indefinite detention of families solves the family separation crisis he created," Democrats said in a statement. "We are troubled that amid all the fanfare of Donald Trump's televised signing ceremony there was not a single mention of how the more than 2,000 children will be reunited with their families," it added.

Here is a look at how US politicians and activists reacted to Trump's recent decision:

Bernie Sanders

Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders said that Trump was forced to reverse his policy after people spoke up against it. However, he suggested the executive order issued "goes nowhere near as far as it should go." Sanders also said that Trump’s executive order merely "replaces one inhumane act with another". "In response to the overwhelming public outrage at his policy of tearing children away from their parents at the border, this administration thinks the appropriate response is to indefinitely detain families," he said in another tweet.

Kamala Harris

California senator Kamala Harris tweeted that the executive order did not deal with reuniting the 2,300 separated children with their parents or relatives and said that detaining children indefinitely was inhumane.

Brian Schatz

US senator from Hawaii, Brian Schatz termed the order 'vague' and said the government was not doing anything to unite separated children with their parents.

Nancy Pelosi

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi called for the resignation of Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security for backing Trump's claim that the White House was not "barbarically ripping children away from mothers".

Lindsey Graham US senator Lindsey Graham said he was very pleased with the order but said that only the Congress can provide a permanent solution regarding the legal dilemma created by the 1997 Flores settlement agreement.

Adam Schiff

Democratic Senator Adam Schiff said the "nightmare isn't over yet" until Trump's presidency is over.

Karine Jean-Pierre Political campaign organiser and activist Karin Jean-Pierre said the executive order was "worthless".

Jevin D Hodge

Vice-chair of the Arizona Democratic Party, Hodge claimed the order did not end the administration's "zero tolerance" policy but "jailed families seeking asylum from violent situations indefinitely".

Anil Kalhan

Law professor Anil Kalhan said that Trump's executive order purported, but did not commit, to ending one specific means by which "asylum-seekers and their kids are being held as political hostages".

Diane DeGette

Colorado representative and Member of Congress Diane DeGette tremendous pressure on Trump led to the reversal of the family separation policy.

With inputs from AFP

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Updated Date: Jun 21, 2018 12:28:54 IST