"We will keep families together, but the border is going to be just as tough", he said. I sent a letter asking the United Nations to send observers to investigate the unconscionable separation of families at the border.
"It's a big disappointment", said Michael Wildes, the NY immigration lawyer who has represented Melania Trump on immigration issues. "We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally".
Meanwhile, the document Trump signed won't reunite the more than 2,300 children now separated from their parents, whose plight Trump admitted privately this week was deeply damaging to him politically.
A reminder that the Americans aren't the only ones who should be outraged. Immigration cases typically take much longer than that.
"Quit separating the kids, they're separating the children!" congressman Juan Vargas, a Democrat from southern California, yelled to Trump, as he help up a sign that read "Families belong together". Under federal statute, those charged with felonies can not have their children detained with them. The change would loosen rules that now limit the amount of time minors can be held to 20 days, according to a GOP source familiar with the measure.
We will have that as the same time we have compassion.
Before Sessions ordered the prosecution of anyone apprehended after illegally crossing the border, it was commonplace for Border Patrol to issue families notices to appear in court and release them into the interior of the U.S.
Before departing for Minnesota, Trump signed an executive order to keep families together at the border.
But a 1997 landmark settlement known as the Flores agreement that generally bars the government from keeping children in immigration detention for more than 20 days remains in place. "When you prosecute the parents for coming in illegally, which should happen, you have to take the children away", Trump said. They want open borders, which breeds awful crime. The order is fewer than 800 words, but it does little to resolve the chaos generated by the family separation policy.
Before the president signed the order, lawmakers from both parties, mindful of how frequently Trump reverses course - particularly on immigration, where he has repeatedly shifted positions within the course of hours - waited to see the details of what it would do. "Instead of protecting traumatised children, the President has directed his Attorney General to pave the way for the long-term incarceration of families in prison-like conditions", said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.
Democrats said the images of children being held in cages in border facilities, some crying for their parents, would be a moment remembered in USA history. "My wife feels very strongly about it".More news: Disney raises bid for Fox assets to $71.3bn, topping Comcast
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This ordeal is proof that Trump will literally do anything that Republicans support, and Republicans will support anything that Trump does. Female suburban voters are considered crucial in deciding control of Congress this fall.
"If you've been fortunate enough to have been born in America, imagine for a moment if circumstance had placed you somewhere else", Obama wrote Wednesday on his Facebook page.
"We've got to be keeping families together", Trump said.
Immigrant rights' advocates on Wednesday said they anxious about what that could mean for the due process rights of migrants and for their ability to make asylum claims from detention centers.
Obama's post concluded by saying that "we have to do more than say "this isn't who we are".
The domestic United States backlash to the policy has been echoed overseas.
Pope Francis and UK Prime Minister Theresa May also weighed in on the practice on Wednesday. "Populism does not resolve things. This is not something that we agree with".
The policy and its upshot stirred some of the most hostile reaction yet of any Trump initiative.
House Republican Mario Diaz-Balart said the priority of ending the separations has been slotted into a compromise bill now under consideration and favored by GOP moderates.
In 2015, a federal judge in Los Angeles expanded the terms of the settlement, ruling that it applies to children who are caught with their parents as well as to those who come to the USA alone.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Wednesday morning that the House will vote on immigration legislation, despite signs that the bills up for consideration can not pass. "Tomorrow the House will vote on legislation to keep families together". Spokesmen for the White House didn't immediately respond to questions about the new policy. "NOT ACCEPTABLE!" Trump tweeted in November.