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 NielsenSenate Dem on call for Nielsen investigation: I am 'sick and tired of this administration lying' State of American politics is all power games and partisanship Dem senator requests FBI investigate Nielsen for potential perjury 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 TrumpCoast Guard chief: 'Unacceptable' that service members must rely on food pantries, donations amid shutdown Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing 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.