U.S. Customs and Border Protection now says that any children "still in Border Patrol custody" will be reunited with their families after the adults are prosecuted.
This statement, issued this morning by a CBP spokesperson, follows a Health and Human Services statement yesterday saying the executive order doesn’t affect children in its custody, which itself walked back last night by HHS to say it’s still early and that they were awaiting guidance.
One thing to note: It is extremely unlikely that any of the more than 2,300 children already separated before June 9 will be impacted by this new policy, as those parents are likely to already be in ICE custody post-prosecution, and kids should only be in CBP custody for up to 72 hours.
This, then, would seem to impact new arrivals.
It’s also important to note that this statement makes clear that going forward, families will not be separated -- except when it’s deemed necessary. That's the old status quo before "zero tolerance."
Here's the full statement:
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has taken immediate steps to implement the President’s Executive Order Affording Congress the Opportunity to Address Family Separation. Family unity will be maintained for families apprehended crossing the border illegally, and they will be transferred together to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Border Patrol will continue to refer for prosecution adults who cross the border illegally. For those children still in Border Patrol custody, we are reuniting them with parents or legal guardians returned to Border Patrol custody following prosecution. As specified in the order, families will not be detained together when doing so would pose a risk to the child’s welfare. Additionally, as was the case prior to implementation of the zero tolerance policy on May 5, family units may be separated due to humanitarian, health and safety, or criminal history in addition to illegally crossing the border.