A plan by the Trump administration to separate parents from their children at the U.S. border when families are caught trying to cross illegally has already been approved by immigration authorities, The New York Times reports. The new proposed policy would break with the practice of placing families together in detention facilities and instead send parents to adult detention facilities while their children are sent to shelters designed for juveniles or to live with “sponsors.” The plan has been approved by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to three officials at the Department of Homeland Security and one at the White House cited by the Times. Kirstjen Nielsen, the new Homeland Security secretary, has yet to back the measure, however. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly floated the idea of a family separation policy this year while serving as the head of Homeland Security, but after a backlash, he said such a policy would only be used in extreme circumstances. Immigrant groups have blasted the proposed plan as unnecessarily cruel, though White House officials have touted it as a way to deter immigrants from illegally crossing the border.
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