Jun 21, 2018

Axios PM

1 big thing: Knowns and unknowns on child separation

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

President Trump's about-face on child separation seems to have been sincere, but it's left a host of questions on how the crisis will be resolved.

Why it matters: Government officials seem confused and uncertain while thousands of children remain separated from their parents.

Axios' Stef Kight reviews what we know, and don't.


  1. The Justice Department is still criminally prosecuting all adults who are caught crossing the border illegally. Trump has asked that cases involving parents be made the priority.
  2. Homeland Security has been instructed by Trump to keep families in detention together throughout both criminal and immigration proceedings for as long as legally possible.
  3. Legally, child migrants are only allowed to be held in detention for 20 days, although DOJ has formally asked a federal district judge to modify her 2015 ruling on the Flores settlement to change this.
  4. Health and Human Services already has custody of 2,300 children who have been separated from their parents, and are working to find sponsors to take care of them.


  1. Whether parents can count time spent in immigration detention when it comes to counting time served.
  2. What facilities will be used to house these families.
  3. What happens to the kids after 20 days if the federal judge decides not to change her ruling.
  4. Whether DHS and HHS have a process to reunite these children with their parents quickly and before deportation.

The other side: There were cases during the Obama and Bush administration where parents were separated from their kids. But these were rare, according to two former DHS officials, and most often were cases where only fathers were removed from the rest of the family. It was also often only in cases that involved drug trafficking or other criminal activity or suspicions of smuggling.

Go deeper: Stef has more details

2. What you missed

Melania Trump did a surprise visit to meet with border children today. Her jacket attracted notice. L: Trump boarding the plane to Texas. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images. R: Melania de-planing in Texas. Photo: Manel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

  1. Jeff Sessions told CBN today that the administration "never really intended to" separate families. Reality check.
  2. The Supreme Court paved the way for states to begin collecting sales taxes from online vendors. In a 5-4 decision, the court threw out a precedent that had blocked online sales taxes. Go deeper.
  3. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has resigned, effective immediately, after it was discovered that he had an undisclosed "past consensual relationship" with an Intel employee.
  4. The White House released its proposed organization of the federal government today. Its chances are slim at best, but you can read it here.
  5. Good news: A new study finds that the ground underneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet region is rebounding, or rising, at an extraordinarily rapid rate. Go deeper.
  6. E-scooter company Lime wants to expand its business into areas like ultra-compact electric cars, local merchant promotions and delivery, according to a confidential fundraising deck obtained by Axios.
3. 1 petty thing

The Guardian's Aidan Mac Guill dives into the most spiteful buildings in the world, defined as buildings created to anger, deservedly or otherwise, a nearby neighbor:

  • 33 story skyscraper built to block an ex-boyfriend's family palace from being able to see their private church.
  • The homes built on narrow strips of land to block views.
  • The townhouse built in an Alexandria, Virginia alley to stop horses from using it.

Go deeper: Photos and backstories