How the law does – and doesn’t – apply

The law

There is no federal law requiring that adults crossing illegally over U.S. borders with their children be separated from them. Congress, which creates immigration laws, has never passed such legislation.

Immigrants crossing illegally into the country may be prosecuted criminally, resulting in their children being separated from them because children cannot be held in federal detention centers with their parents. Such prosecutions and separations have occurred for decades.

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