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US lawmakers battle over migrants crossing border illegally

Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee have batted down Democratic proposals that undercut the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting and detaining migrants caught entering the US.

One rejected Democratic plan would have blocked money for tent cities to house unaccompanied children.

But in a sign of Republican vulnerability on the issue of separating families at the border, the committee accepted other proposals. One would require a government plan for tracking and reuniting children separated from their families and imposing a $100 000-a-day fine if it doesn’t produce one.

Republicans also approved their own plan to allow federal officials to hold children for more than 20 days when their parents face legal action for unauthorised entry to the US. Currently there is a court-imposed limit of 20 days.

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