Branches of the U.S. government – legislative, executive, and judicial – are designed to co-exist and complement each other. The underlying principle of constitutionalism implies that each division has special powers, structure, and functions. The purpose of the paper is to illustrate and analyze relations between the legislative and executive parts of the government. It addresses the U.S. immigration policy, especially the case of family separations. The paper also considers the national authority response to the problem and current situation.
Three branches of the federal government hold different responsibilities related to the implementation and reinforcement of the country’s legislature. Congress that is comprised of the Senate and the House of Representatives makes laws (The United States Government). The President has the power to carry out laws, whereas the Supreme Court and federal courts interpret them (The United States Government). The issue of separating families at the border derives from Trump’s administration’s intends to halt migration flows from Central America. There is no official policy to keep parents and children apart unless adults are legally prosecuted. However, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its agency – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) – take children from their parents.
The problem became pressing when information about the number of divided families reached the public. The DHS reported that border patrol separated more than 3 000 children in May and June 2018 (Eversden). Although the Department of Homeland Security controls immigration and ensures border security, it has no legal obligation to break up families. The CBP exacerbated the situation by not keeping reliable accounts of separated children, thus, making it more challenging to organize reunions. The immediate response was followed by the U.S. Senate to stop this controversial policy.
President Trump attempted to regulate the crisis by issuing an executive order. The order allows housing families together in detention centers for the time of court proceedings (Savage). However, the Senate, as a legislative body, has put forward a bill to eliminate activities of executives departments. In June 2018, Senator Dianne Feinstein initiated the creation of the Keep Families Together Act (Nilsen). It aimed to outlaw the separation of families and immediately received support from Democrats. The bill was introduced on the 14th of January 2019, and it is currently in the first stage of the legislative procedure. It highlights that children can be taken away only in case there is a direct danger from parents (“H.R. 541 — 116th Congress: Keep Families Together Act”). It is an illustration of how the legislative branch is working to rectify the executive division’s mistakes.
Despite legal changes and improvements, the U.S. government continues to take children from parents once they cross the border. More than 1 000 dependent minors have undergone this painful process (Washington). Furthermore, Border Patrol agents are not trained to deal with immigrant families and, therefore, tend to make hasty conclusions. It is still unclear how many families have been impacted during this strict zero-tolerance policy. Keep Families Together Act has a chance to ban unnecessary separations.
Political strategies to manage immigration flows ignite an ongoing debate in American society. Many people suffered because of Trump’s approach to divide families. Department of Homeland Security and its agents act in accordance with the decisions of the President. The Congress represented by senators has a legal instrument to limit the power of the executive branch. The potential implementation of the Keep Families Together Act can bring fruitful results in the field of immigration policy. Cooperation between legislative and executive sections of the government is crucial for solving existing disputes.
- “H.R. 541 — 116th Congress: Keep Families Together Act.” GovTrack, Web.
- Eversden, Andrew. “Why Homeland Security Lost Track of Kids it Separated at the Border.” Federal Times, 2019. Web.
- Nilsen, Ella. “The Democratic Senate Bill that Would Stop Family Separations, Explained.” Vox, 2018. Web.
- Savage, Charlie. “Explaining Trump’s Executive Order on Family Separation.” The New York Times, 2018. Web.
- The United States Government. “Branches of the U.S. Government.” USA Gov. Web.
- Washington, John. “The Government has taken at least 1,100 Children from Their Parents since Family Separations Officially Ended.” The Intercept, 2019. Web.