Then, in a barely concealed and cynical attempt at self-preservation, he added: "I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated".
Current laws including the Flores Settlement, he argued, simply encouraged people to enter the country with their children, expecting to be caught and then released into United States society. But the president is contradicted by his own Justice Department, which describes the effort as stopgap and limited by a 21-year-old court settlement under which the federal government essentially agreed not to detain immigrant minors longer than 20 days. The directive may violate a 1997 court settlement and a 2008 law that require special handling of immigrant children.
"We're going to have work to do" to get the compromise across the finish line, said number three House Republican Steve Scalise.
On Wednesday afternoon, congressional Democrats gathered on the Capitol steps to protest the practice of child separation.
Even though internal discussions about confronting the child detentions had been ongoing for a week, Trump's decision to sign an executive order still caught some of his closest aides off-guard. It also calls into question numerous administration's recent claims about the basis of the "zero tolerance" policy that was announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April.
"I don't think they have figured out what the legal consequences might be of trying to keep the parents together with the children indefinitely", said Representative Carlos Curbelo, a member of Trump's Republican party, after the meeting.
On Wednesday, Rubio introduced a bill that basically allows people who unlawfully entered to the country to be held together with their children. They want open borders, which breeds disgusting crime.
The Trump administration has been under increasing pressure from the public, religious leaders and Democrats in Congress, as well as most Republicans to end the practice of separating children from parents at border detention facilities.
The order is titled "Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation".
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Trump's wife was among those urging him to reverse course.
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio announced he would visit a camp in Tornillo, Texas, on Thursday that the government recently constructed to house immigrant children. Senators anxious Trump's fix would not stand up in court and were eager to go on record in opposition to the practice of separating families.
Democrats said the images of children being held in cages in border facilities, some crying for their parents, would be a moment remembered in US history.
"Ivanka feels very strongly". Whether Trump's support can push any immigration measure through the divided GOP majority remains a question. Female suburban voters are considered crucial in deciding control of Congress this fall.
The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a government agency that apprehends illegal immigrants, told Hindustan Times: "Based on information obtained by the US Border Patrol at the time of apprehension, it appears that seven detainees now housed at Sheridan may have been separated from family members. There are workable alternatives", president Richard Cohen said in a statement.
"We still have to maintain toughness, or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don't stand for and we don't want", he said.
"This morning, Mr. Speaker, that innocent little child is crying in a cage", Lewis said. "This is not something that we agree with". He has fiercely defended his administration's actions. The biggest change here is that families will be detained together while their cases are being prosecuted. "Those are the only two options, totally open borders or criminal prosecution for law-breaking", the President had said.
Obama prosecuted mothers for coming to the United States illegally. No details were immediately provided on the Dreamer aspect of the bill.
Wednesday's move was the most significant policy reversal by Trump since he took office in January 2017.
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