immigration

As the number of migrant children detained by the U.S. government grows to almost 2,000 minors, Trump administration officials defended the policy of separating children from their parents and authorities announced plans to house several hundred juveniles in a temporary tent shelter near El Paso, Texas.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited the Bible to explain why the Trump administration has launched a policy of separating families seeking illegal entry into the United States.

"I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order," Sessions said during a speech to law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Updated at 12:23 p.m. ET

House Republicans huddled for hours Thursday morning in another attempt to find party unity on an issue that divides the GOP like no other: immigration.

The meeting concluded with little tangible progress toward a final bill, but Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters there was agreement within the House GOP that they would continue to work on a bill that addressed "four pillars" of immigration policy outlined earlier this year by the White House. Ryan said that is "the most optimistic, plausible chance of getting [a bill] into law."

House Republican leaders are struggling to contain a growing split within their party over immigration policy. But for some vulnerable moderates breaking from some of the GOP's hardest-line proposals could be the key to avoiding defeat in November.

Californian Steve Knight is one of nearly two dozen House Republicans who have signed on to a petition to force the House to vote on immigration proposals as early as next month. The plan is to allow the House to vote on at least four bills, including a pathway to citizenship that many conservatives hate.

President Trump is already tweeting his displeasure about a Supreme Court decision that makes it more difficult to deport a small number of lawful permanent residents convicted of crimes.

In a 5-to-4 decision Tuesday, the court overturned the deportation of a 25-year legal U.S. resident from the Philippines who was convicted of two burglaries.

The Department of Justice will temporarily suspend funding for a legal-advice program for detained immigrants as well as a telephone help line at the end of the month, according to officials.

On Tuesday, the department alerted the Vera Institute of Justice, an immigrants rights organization that runs the Legal Orientation Program and the Immigration Court Helpdesk, that the government needs time to review the effectiveness of the program.

The Department of Justice is setting quotas for immigration judges — part of a broader effort to speed up deportations and reduce a massive backlog of immigration cases.

The new quotas are laid out in a memo that was sent to immigration judges across the country on Friday. To get a "satisfactory" rating on their performance evaluations, judges will be required to clear at least 700 cases a year and to have fewer than 15 percent of their decisions overturned on appeal.

Activists across the country say they are being targeted by federal immigration authorities for speaking out at protests and accusing the government of heavy-handed tactics.

The Trump administration has warned that anyone in the country illegally could be arrested and deported under tough new enforcement rules. And federal officials deny allegations of retaliation.

But the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups say they have documented two dozen cases of immigrant activists and volunteers who say they have been arrested or face fines for their work.

Wasin Pummarin / 123rf Stock Photo

A Tennessee House subcommittee has approved legislation with in-state tuition for public college students whose parents brought or kept them in the country illegally.

A federal judge in California has rejected a legal challenge to the Trump administration's plans to build a wall on the Southern border with Mexico.

The state of California and a variety of environmental groups had filed suit against the administration, arguing that it was wrong to launch the border wall project by waiving several federal environmental laws.

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