In a court filing Friday the Trump administration said it has the right to detain children and parents caught crossing at the border for as long as their immigration court cases take.
Because of a 1997 court settlement, the Department of Homeland Security has to release undocumented minors caught crossing the border after 20 days. But DHS says a recent court ruling has complicated that precedent.
On Tuesday, a judge ruled the Trump administration had to stop separations and reunite already separated families within 30 days.
Because of those court cases, the administration had two options: hold parents and children together, but only for 20 days, or release them together.
The court filing suggests a reinterpretation of the 1997 case so the administration can detain families together until their cases are judged. It can take months, sometimes years, just to see an immigration judge.
To prepare for the high number of apprehended migrant families that will need to be held together, construction of tent encampments on two Texas military bases will begin after July 4.
Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.