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Trump set to attend a fundraiser for a creator of ‘family separation’

Since President Trump left office in 2021, his Mar-a-Lago mansion in Florida has become a favored venue for fundraising events supporting Republican candidates and causes.

This week, participants will pay up to $100,000 to support an organization aligned with the issue that seems most heated for Republican voters: immigration and borders.

Trump is expected to appear Thursday at a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago for the Border911 Foundation, according to the organization’s website. The nonprofit was founded last year by Thomas Homan, former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who helped implement and oversee the controversial “separation policy families” of the former president and who remains a staunch supporter of Trump.

This policy led to the separation of approximately 5,000 children from their adult family members who were detained for criminal prosecution under the Trump-era “zero tolerance” policy. A federal judge ultimately blocked the separations, and some children still have not been reunited with their families.

Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan appears at a community forum.

(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Recent polls in battleground states show Trump in the lead, and immigration appears to be one reason.

Republicans see opportunity in President Biden’s unpopularity with voters on the border issue. Although Trump has been cautious about whether he would reinstate family separation, he spoke this week at a rally in Wisconsin about crimes allegedly committed by migrants, saying there had been ” an invasion of our country.”

In a written statement, Trump spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt said that “the millions of illegal immigrants that Biden has resettled across America should not feel comfortable because very soon they will be returning home.”

“Immediately upon President Trump’s return to the Oval Office, he will restore all of his previous policies, implement all-new enforcement measures that will send shockwaves to every criminal smuggler around the world, and marshal all necessary federal and state powers to institute the largest deportation operation in the world. American history,” Leavitt said.

Immigration advocates and Biden supporters criticized Trump’s planned appearance alongside figures such as Homan, who they say has presided over a particularly cruel policy.

“They don’t talk about separating families, but with this event he says it out loud, that he supports this type of cruelty,” said Beatriz Lopez, deputy director of the advocacy group Immigration Hub. “He will round up and expel the people who are here and who have contributed to this country… He will restore all the cruel policies of the past that most voters have firmly rejected.”

They also criticized the presumptive Republican nominee’s views and rhetoric on the subject, saying they were fueling fear among Americans and dividing the country.

“Trump demonizes immigrants, calling them ‘animals’ and claiming they are ‘poisoning the blood of the nation,'” Biden campaign co-chair Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) said in a written statement. .

“He’s not interested in real solutions to fix our broken immigration system. He’s focused on turning people against each other and stirring up hatred because he thinks it will help him politically. “

According to his campaign, Trump wants to end citizenship rights for children of immigrants without legal status and limit these children’s access to passports and Social Security numbers. He also wants to issue an executive order stating that children born in this country must have a U.S. citizen parent in order for them to also become U.S. citizens.

Representatives for Homan and Border911 did not respond to requests for comment. But their goal “is to educate Americans about the facts about border security and when America votes for our leadership, they will understand the devastation, the facts, the causes and the results, so they can make an informed decision.” , depending on the group. website. Trump has repeatedly said he would like to find Homan a job in his administration if he wins in November.

ABC News reported last month that the goal of the event would be to raise money to stage a tour of battleground states ahead of the November election.

Tickets for the event start at $1,200 and go up to $100,000. “VIP tickets” include a “photo opportunity with the Border911 team and special guests,” according to the group’s website, which says the event is sold out.

Homan organized a 2023 fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago for an organization supporting those arrested for participating in the January 6 insurrection. He spent most of his career in border enforcement and the Atlantic magazine described him as the “father” of the family separation policy. As of last summer, researchers found that about 1,000 children still had not been reunited with their parents or family.

Homan, who campaigned with Trump during the primaries, defended the policy, saying it deterred people from crossing the border.

“I’m tired of hearing about family separation,” Homan said last year at a conservative political event, according to the Hill newspaper. “You know, I’m still getting sued for this, so come get me.” … In the end, we enforced the law.”

“When I was a police officer in New York and I arrested a father for domestic violence, or someone for (driving under the influence), I broke up that family,” he later added. “When you break the law with a child, you’re going to be separated.”

In December, U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw approved an agreement between the American Civil Liberties Union and the federal government, blocking the federal government from separating families in an effort to block immigration for eight years. The same judge ordered in 2018 an end to the separations and demanded that the children be reunited with their family.

The practice was “brutal, offensive, and disrespects traditional notions of fair play and decency,” Sabraw wrote.

The federal government is still allowed to separate children, but in very limited cases, such as if a parent poses a threat to their children or if they are convicted of serious crimes. The Times reported in December that families were separated last year — long after Trump left office — while being processed at the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego. That has more to do with the number of people showing up at the border than a zero-tolerance policy, officials said.

Immigration advocates are not reassured by restrictions on general policies that would prevent the separation of children from their parents. Todd Schulte, president of the FWD.us group, said Trump’s repeated disregard for the rule of law and his stated desire to reduce the number of people crossing the border and expel individuals without legal status are concerning.

“This (ACLU) settlement is essential, and it is important. It’s absolutely the law,” Schulte told the Times. “But there are so many horrible things that President Trump and his team have promised to do. There is every reason to wonder if they would do that again?

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