Top DOJ official: Government can only detain families together for up to 20 days

Top DOJ official: Government can only detain families together for up to 20 days
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Senior Justice Department official Gene Hamilton confirmed on Wednesday that the government can only detain families together for “up to 20 days" after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump pushes back on recent polling data, says internal numbers are 'strongest we've had so far' Illinois state lawmaker apologizes for photos depicting mock assassination of Trump Scaramucci assembling team of former Cabinet members to speak out against Trump MORE signed an executive order ending the separation of parents from their children at the border.

Hamilton said that the Flores settlement — a 1997 consent decree that prohibits the federal government from keeping children in immigration detention for more than 20 days — will stay in place unless Congress or the courts take action, CBS News’ Steven Portnoy reported.

The Department of Justice is also asking a Federal District Court in California to extend the amount of time that the government can detain families for as long as their legal proceedings last.

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The announcement came shortly after Trump signed the order to end the practice of separating migrant children from their parents when caught crossing the border illegally.

It calls on the Department of Homeland Security to detain families together as they away trial.

The order also calls on the Justice Department to expedite immigration cases that involve families and calls on the Pentagon to provide space to house the families.

The administration’s policy of family separation had been widely criticized by both Democrats and Republicans and drawn worldwide condemnation.

Trump said that his “zero tolerance” policy against illegal border crossings will remain in place but children will now be detained with their parents.

“We’re going to have strong, very strong borders, but we’re going to keep the families together,” Trump said. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”

Trump had falsely tried to blame Democrats for his administration’s policy and said that federal laws and court rulings prevented him from stopping the family separations.

“Congress and the courts created this problem, and Congress alone can fix it,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTop immigration aide experienced 'jolt of electricity to my soul' when Trump announced campaign Trump casts uncertainty over top intelligence role Juan Williams: Trump, his allies and the betrayal of America MORE had said earlier this week.