ICE approves plan to separate families at border: report
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Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials have signed off on a plan to separate families who are caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, officials close to discussions on the proposal told The New York Times.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele Nielsen2,000 asylum seekers return home, decide to stay in Mexico: report Trump taps FEMA official to lead agency Unscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden MORE has final approval power, however, and officials told the newspaper that she has yet to sign off on the plan. The White House favors the proposed policy, the newspaper reported.

Rumors have been circulating for months that the Trump administration may implement such a plan. President TrumpDonald John TrumpMcCabe says he was fired because he 'opened a case against' Trump McCabe: Trump said 'I don't care, I believe Putin' when confronted with US intel on North Korea McCabe: Trump talked to me about his election victory during 'bizarre' job interview MORE has made cracking down on illegal immigration a priority and vowed tougher measures to deter illegal border crossings.

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Under the policy being considered, families could be separated, with parents being kept in detention facilities as they await deportation while children would be kept under protective custody at shelters for juveniles or with an approved sponsor.

The measure is among those being considered by Trump administration officials to curb illegal border crossings, especially those involving young children.

Former Homeland Security Secretary John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, who now serves as White House chief of staff, said earlier this year that the Homeland Security Department was considering the policy as a means to discourage whole families from coming into the U.S. illegally, but later backtracked after backlash.

Kelly told Senate Democrats that his policy wasn't intended to separate mothers from their children.