"We are going to keep the families together".
Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader from NY, is adamant that Trump can end the family separations on his own and that legislation is not needed.
Trump said there was a need to sustain his "zero tolerance" policy to prevent crime, which he blames illegal immigrants for. "You hear about people coming into our country illegally, breaking our laws and paying the consequences for it, right?" In a media call after the order was released, senior Justice Department official Gene Hamilton suggested that, absent new authority from a federal judge to detain children for longer than is now allowed, the practice of separating families may resume at the 20-day mark.
But the directive may violate a 2008 law that require special handling of migrant children who must be transferred from Nielsen's department to the Department of Health and Human Services after 72 hours. It also directs the attorney general to seek to modify a 21-year-old settlement agreement that stipulates that the government can not hold minors in immigration detention for more than 20 days.
Under a previous class-action settlement that set policies for the treatment and release of minors caught at the border, families can only be detained for 20 days.
"You can spin it any way you want, but the reality is I am out there all the time, I work that border and I'm telling you things are being done correctly".
As Trump walked out of the session in the Capitol basement, he was confronted by about a half-dozen House Democrats, who yelled, "Stop separating our families!"
"The Department of Homeland Security will do what is possible to hold illegal border crossers accountable while also holding families together as long as the law allows". In recent weeks, more than 2,500 such children were separated from their parents. They want open borders, which breeds disgusting crime.
USA immigration officials say 2342 children were separated from 2206 parents between 5 May and 9 June. Hatch and 12 other GOP senators - including John McCain, R-Arizona, and Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, - co-signed a letter on Tuesday to the Justice Department asking that the administration pause the separation of families until Congress addresses the issue.
Trump's wife was among those urging him to reverse course.
Trump did not say what would happen to the steaks and other meats cooks had been pre-grilling at the White House in preparation for the picnic. He said families would move to the head of the line for processing. "The borders are just as tough, just as strong", he said. "But right now we want to fix this problem and I think we'll be able to do that". Female suburban voters are considered crucial in deciding control of Congress this fall.
"We're going to have strong, very strong borders, but we're going to keep the families together", said Trump, who added he didn't like the "sight" or "feeling" of children separated from their parents. He specifically criticized the president's use of the term "chain migration" to describe the long-standing US policy of allowing USA citizens to assist relatives overseas in obtaining legal residency.
The UK and Canadian prime ministers, Theresa May and Justin Trudeau, both called it "wrong".
"We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally", he said.