Trump is prone to rapid reversals and perhaps the continued harsh media coverage and pressure from Republicans will convince him to back down from his “zero tolerance” policy, but it seems unlikely. Not only would an administration that partly exists because Trump put so much emphasis on border enforcement have to accept that it must release illegal migrants into the country, it would send a message south of the border that would be tantamount to the kind of magnet produced by amnesties: Even the toughest-sounding president on immigration that has ever been elected in the United States will accept you if you show up illegally at the border.
We have an editorial up today urging a legislative package to give the administration the authorities and resources necessary to hold families together at the border. Republicans are now rallying behind this approach. But it can’t pass the Senate without Democratic support, which also seems unlikely. Schumer is against it, and why not? Democrats have political cover with the Feinstein proposal, they think Trump is getting killed on this issue, and they don’t want to make it easier for Trump to hold and deport people, a policy goal that they oppose.
This means it’s unlikely that anything passes the Senate. Maybe the administration will make some adjustments in its policy to soften it — ideally, it’d find a way to keep families together, even if the adult is being run through a pro forma prosecution — but we are probably looking at some version of the status quo for the duration.