A bill introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that is intended to stop border separations would prevent federal law enforcement officials from arresting criminals who are parents anywhere inside the U.S. as the bill does not make any distinction between illegal immigrant children at the border and children who are U.S. citizens and who already live in the U.S.
Attorney Gabriel Malor writes at The Federalist:
The bill provides that “[a]n agent or officer of a designated agency shall be prohibited from removing a child from his or her parent or legal guardian at or near the port of entry or within 100 miles of the border of the United States” (with three exceptions to be discussed later). Four immediate warning signs in this provision should put the reader on notice that this bill is not what Democrats claim.
Malor breaks down the four immediate warning signs in the bill:
1. The bill does not limit the scope of its regulation to agencies that are involved with the border crisis as the term "designated agency" is defined as "the entirety of the federal departments of Homeland Security, Justice, and Health and Human Services."
2. The term "agent or officer" is only partially defined to include contractors but otherwise includes every federal employee, meaning that the law would apply to "FBI agents (part of DOJ), Secret Service agents (part of DHS), and Centers for Disease Control officers (part of HHS) in the exercise of their everyday duties."
3. In the bill, the term "child" is defined as any person under the age of 18 and who does not have a permanent immigration status. Malor explains that this definition "includes U.S. citizens under the age of 18," noting that "citizen children by definition have no immigration status, permanent or otherwise."
4. When the bill seeks to define the geographic area where it would apply by stating "at or near the port of entry or within 100 miles of the border," it does a very poor job of actually limiting the scope of the area it covers, as Malor writes, "That area includes almost the entirety of the geographical territory of the United States and the vast majority of people living in it," adding, "Two hundred million people live within 100 miles of the border."