Trump supporters steadfast despite the immigration uproar

Donald Trump signs order to end family separations

"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.

Heart-rending images and sounds of wailing children separated from their guardians have led to a firestorm of opposition to the Trump administration's crackdown on illegal immigration.

Trump said he didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated. The order also did not provide any date or timeline on when it would be implemented and does not address how the more than 2,000 children already stripped from their families would be reunited. He also sought to shift responsibility by falsely blaming Democrats for the humanitarian crisis unfolding on America's south-west borders, with images and sounds of crying children seen and heard around the world.

When the crisis of family separations erupted at the border, GOP leaders revised the compromise bill to bolster a provision requiring parents and children to be held together in custody.

"We want security for our country", the president said Wednesday.

In a surprise move, Trump suggested that he would postpone a picnic for US lawmakers and their families at the White House scheduled for Thursday while they sort out the immigration issue.

Democrats have said that the situation is Trump's fault, and accused him of using the children as leverage to force them to negotiate on immigration and the president's long-promised border wall. Just in the past few days he had insisted his hands were tied by law on the issue of family separations even though his administration implemented a "zero tolerance" policy.

"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. By taking executive action, the president is effectively acknowledging they were correct.


Trump's order also calls for prioritising immigration cases involving detained families. VOA's Congressional correspondent Katherine Gypson has more.

"The Flores Settlement prohibits the indefinite detention of children - even with their families - and any order to undermine this critical protection will be immediately challenged in court", said senior Democratic Senator Dick Durbin. Under the policy, adults would be charged with a felony rather than a misdemeanor for crossing the border.

Mr. Trump's abrupt reversal on family separation wasn't surprising given his soft spot for children and visceral reaction to photographs of children in peril, said a source close to the president. Under federal statute, those charged with felonies can not have their children detained with them. More than 2,300 minors were taken from their parents between early May and early June, according to statistics from the Department of Homeland Security. In the past, the government released entire families once the clock ran out.

One of them said Nielsen, who had become the face of the administration's policy, had little faith that Congress would act to fix the separation issue and felt compelled to act. The new order also held no apparent implications for 52 people from India confined in a federal detention facility at Oregon, Washington state.

"It's a awful situation", Welch, 43, said of the distraught children.

The executive order directed government lawyers to seek a modification of the Flores settlement, a consent decree from 1997 that bars the federal government from holding children in immigrant detention for more than 20 days. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has set up a hotline for parents to call after they are released from custody.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions hinted at that when he spoke of the consequences of the "zero tolerance" policy that he announced May 7. A top HHS official told Agence France-Presse on Tuesday they have no system in place to do so.

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