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UPDATE: On March 6th, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly confirmed that the Trump administration was considering "exactly" this proposal.

Mothers and their children could be separated if they enter the country illegally under a shocking new proposal reportedly under consideration by the Trump administration.

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The proposal was first reported by Reuters on Friday. Mothers would be held in detention while their children were taken into protective custody.

Three government officials briefed on the plan told Reuters the proposal is meant to discourage undocumented mothers from entering the country with their children. The plan would allow mothers to stay in government detention centers while their children are are placed with a state-sponsored guardian or a relative.

Under current law, families are generally processed and released from detention to await court proceedings in the US, a protocol that immigration hawks have termed "catch and release." President Trump has vowed to end "catch and release," part of his many draconian promises on immigration.

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A federal appeals court decision from July 2016 bars keeping children in detention for extended amounts of time, but doesn't require their parents be freed. The Obama administration implemented a rule that women and children be held for 21 days in a detention center before they're released to comply with that ruling, according to Reuters.

The Trump administration has already taken up the task of ramping up the process of arresting and deporting immigrants with ghastly enthusiasm. But with a proposal this ghoulish–literally using a mother's love for her child as a weapon of the state's war on the undocumented–it's hard to imagine where the administration will stop.