As Republicans were meeting privately Wednesday, House Democrats brought about two dozen immigrant children to the chamber floor in an unusual morning protest that defied House rules as they condemned the separation of families at the border.
GOP lawmakers, increasingly fearful of a voter backlash in November, are struggling to find a way out of the problem created by the Trump administration's policy of treating all immigrants who cross the border in criminal, rather than civil, proceedings that result in family separations.
He said he was looking into whether the court could block deportation of parents until they have been reunited with their children, and whether it could force the Trump administration to reunite those separated. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Trump continued to falsely place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Democrats in Congress.
The Trump administration has faced harsh backlash for its policy, which from April through May separated nearly 2,000 children from the adults they were traveling with, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
On Wednesday, Rubio introduced a bill that basically allows people who unlawfully entered to the country to be held together with their children.
The president's move comes amid growing outrage over the practice of separating families and on the eve of House votes Thursday to address immigration.
While top officials have stood by Trump's "zero tolerance" approach, insisting children are being held in humane conditions, criticism has swelled from worldwide rights groups, Christian evangelicals, former United States first ladies and the president's own Republican Party. "And they are going for the country extremely well", the president said.
Trump's executive order instructs DHS to keep families in custody "to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations", language that points to the government's deficit of detention space for parents with children.
Speaker Paul Ryan is pushing ahead with votes on rival House GOP immigration bills, but neither appears to have enough support for passage, forcing the Trump administration to consider executive action to stem the crisis of family separations at the border.
US President Donald Trump signs an executive order ending a policy of separating families caught crossing the US-Mexico border illegally
More than 2,300 minors were separated from their families at the border from May 5 through June 9, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
"Right now we're focused on getting this bill passed", he said. It says that while the administration will "rigorously" enforce immigration laws, it is "also the policy of this Administration to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources". Former first lady Laura Bush wrote that the family separation policy is "cruel".
"The Republican leadership has been working on these other bills for a while". The number of children separated from their parents and sent to HHS has increased to about70 per day.
He says the compromise bill negotiated between Republican conservatives and moderates "is Plan B".
Under the order, the zero-tolerance policy will remain in effect.
And members on the fence over pending immigration legislation headed to the White House to meet with Trump. "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.
From March to May this year, more than 50,000 people a month were apprehended for illegally crossing the border from Mexico.
"We do not want children taken away from their parents", Ryan, R-Wis., said. So if the Flores settlement is successfully amended, the families caught crossing the border illegally will be detained together. They may be transferred to detention facilities run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or possibly released with some form of electronic monitoring, such as an ankle bracelet, while pursuing an asylum claim. "I'll be doing something that's somewhat preemptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation I'm sure", Trump said. "Nobody wants to see children and parents separated, just like no one should want to see illegal drugs and gangs pouring across our border".