After remaining silent on the issue for weeks, Ivanka Trump finally addressed her dad's family separation policy on Wednesday — shortly after the president signed an executive order on the policy. Writing on Twitter, the first daughter and presidential adviser thanked President Trump for ending his administration's policy of separating undocumented children from their parents and putting them in cages.
Ivanka, who's positioned herself as an advocate for families and mothers, didn't address family separation at any point since her father's administration implemented the policy in May, despite some calling for her to do so. But on Wednesday, amid widespread backlash, he signed an executive order to hold migrant families together in detention centers, drawing praise from Ivanka on Twitter.
@POTUS for taking critical action ending family separation at our border," Ivanka tweeted. "Congress must now act + find a lasting solution that is consistent with our shared values; the same values that so many come here seeking as they endeavor to create a better life for their families."
Various Trump administration officials falsely claimed that family separation is required by federal law, and thus could only be stopped through Congressional action. Ivanka alluded to this in her tweet when she called for Congress to "find a lasting solution," but in fact, that's not necessary: Family separation began when the Trump administration decided to start implementing it in May, and will (presumably) stop now that the president has decided to end it.
The executive order that Trump signed states that it is the "policy of this Administration to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources." More controversially, the order also seeks to extend the period of time for which undocumented families can be detained by immigration officials, although it doesn't actually affect such a policy directly.
Rather, the order directs the Justice Department to seek a judicial review of Flores v. Reno, a 1997 court settlement that, among other things, bans the government from detaining undocumented children — accompanied or unaccompanied — for more than 20 days. Per the order, Trump wants the Flores agreement modified so that the administration is allowed "to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings," without any 20-day limit.
Although there was no federal law that required the administration to separate undocumented children from their parents and put them in cages, Congressional Democrats did propose a bill that would ban the practice. Every senate Democrat signed on to support the bill, but because every Republican senator opposed it, the legislation had no chance of passing the GOP-controlled Congress.
"We're signing an executive order," Trump said at the signing ceremony. "I consider it to be a very important executive order. It's about keeping families together, while at the same time being sure we have a very powerful, very strong border." He added that he didn't like "the sight or the feeling" of children being imprisoned in cages without their parents, and claimed that "Ivanka feels very strongly" about the policy.
As the Daily Beast noted, however, the administration doesn't appear to have a plan for reuniting the 2,000-plus families that have already been split up from one another. Many children have been placed in detention facilities thousands of miles away from their parents, and Chris Carlin, head of the federal public defender’s office in Alpine, Texas, told the Daily Beast that it's "a real possibility" that some of the detained children will never be reunited with their parents.
"I don’t see any evidence of any plan to reunify the parent and the child after the conclusion of the adult’s criminal case,” Carlin told the Daily Beast. “I don’t see any evidence of that at all."