A senior Department of Homeland Security official has reportedly confirmed the Trump administration is currently looking into a proposal that border authorities should separate Children from adults while trying to illegally enter the county via the U.S./Mexico border. This was reportedly confirmed to CNN on Friday.

Saying this proposal would prevent exploitation and use of children by illegal immigrants, David Lapan said they are seeing more and more children who are essentially kidnapped in an effort to give illegal immigrants access to the country.

At present, reportedly children accompanying adults into the country are able to stay while awaiting disposition of their cases. Under the new proposal, U.S. immigration officials would separate the children from the adults they traveled with. Adults would then be kept in detention, while the children would be held separately under a protected status, either with family already living in the U.S., or by child protective services.

Stopping the exploitation of children

Lapan said the proposal is aimed at protecting children who are being exploited by non-parents, claiming the children are theirs in order to get access to the country, or parents endangering their children on a dangerous journey to the U.S.

or via people smugglers. While he didn’t make it clear how officials would be able to determine family relationships, he stressed that illegal immigrants are currently taking advantage of the system. Lapan added that the agency is constantly exploring different options to discourage illegal immigrants from making the journey to the U.S.

border, saying in many cases their journey is dangerous, with many children often abused or losing their lives. According to Reuters, no final decision has yet been made on the new proposal and staff is still working out the details.

New proposal goes against Donald Trump’s campaign promises

According to CNN, the new policy would go against the pledge made by U.S. President Donald Trump on his campaign trail back in August 2015, where he said they are going to keep families together, but that the whole family would have to leave.

According to Leon Fresco, a former Department of Justice official under the Obama administration, the same move had been considered by the last administration but was ultimately rejected. Fresco said the idea went against the safety of the children to separate them from their families and that it was preferable to either detain - or release - the family as one unit.

The new DHS proposal has met with much criticism from the U.S. public especially on Twitter, with many messages condemning the idea.