One clear difference between U.S. President Barack Obama’s border-apprehension policy and that of President Donald Trump is who pays.
Starting near the end of the Obama administration, in 2014:
When a family unit crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally and was apprehended, one adult was given an ankle monitor, the family was given an immigration court date, and they were released.
Volunteers would then take the family to a rescue center where they were fed and instructed on the next steps they needed to take.
In most cases, the families would then stay with friends or family until their immigration court date.
The immigrants or their family or friends would pay the associated costs, including that of the ankle monitor.
Under the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy, April 6 to June 21:
Criminal charges were filed against the adults, while children were reclassified as “unaccompanied minors” and sent to shelters.
Parents were booked into federal jail, where they remained until their court date. They could call a federal hotline to find out where their children were.
Ultimately, children were expected to be released to family or foster care.
Taxpayers pay the cost of detention for all family members. In 2016, that cost was $85 a day for adults and $250 a day for children, according to the Government Accounting Office.
Parents could plead guilty or not guilty in federal court, after which they were to be sent to an immigration detention center. Ultimately, they would either be deported or allowed to seek asylum.
The Department of Homeland Security says there are nearly 12,000 children currently in shelters. Most arrived at the border as unaccompanied minors.
Since June 21, federal authorities have been holding families together, without charging the adults with a crime.