"We’re not changing the policy. We’re simply out of resources."

The head of US Customs and Border Protection announced Monday that the agency had suspended the policy of referring migrant parents who cross the Mexican border with children for prosecution.


Commissioner Kevin McAleenan ​told reporters in Texas on Monday that the agency had stopped making the referrals to the Justice Department within hours of President Donald Trump's ​executive order​ last week that halted the ​practice of separating families. 


He said that while Trump's "​zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration remains in effect, cases cannot be prosecuted because parents cannot be separated from their children. McAleenan said he is working on a plan to resume the prosecution of adults with children.


Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in Reno, Nevada, Monday that federal prosecutors would continue to criminally prosecute adults caught crossing the border.


"We are going to continue to prosecute those adults who enter here illegally," Sessions said.

However, Border Patrol agents must refer cases for prosecution. Thus, the announcement effectively pauses the Trump's administration's zero tolerance ​policy -- despite the president's claim that it would remain in place even after he ​signed the executive order. 


White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders ​insisted in a Monday press conference that the suspension of this policy is only temporary.


"We’re not changing the policy. We’re simply out of resources," she said. "At some point, Congress has to do what they were elected to do, and that is secure our border, that is stop the crime coming into our country."

To be fair: Before signing the executive border under heavy political pressure, Trump and his officials had argued that the family separations were necessary to prosecute illegal immigrants, and this news supports that view. 


Leaving aside Trump's false attempts to blame the Democrats for the practice, his administration was also right that only Congress can create legal room for the prosecution and detention of illegal immigrants without taking their children from them -- unless the district court judge behind the ​Flores Settlement changes her interpretation of the law. 


For now, there will be a temporary return to the “​catch and release” approach used during the Obama administration, ​according to The New York Times.