Trump says he'll be 'signing something' on detained children

President Trump arrives for a meeting with House Republicans on Tuesday

President Trump arrives for a meeting with House Republicans on Tuesday

(Previously, most parents with children who were apprehended for crossing the border illegally were deported or freed together to seek legal asylum under a practice the Trump administration derisively calls "catch and release.") Under this new policy, we will hear more stories like that of 29-year-old Estaban Pastor, who was deported last October to Guatemala without any knowledge of what had become of his 18-month-old son.

"It's about keeping families together while at the same time making sure that we have a very powerful, very strong border", Trump said as he signed the order in a hastily arranged Oval Office gathering minutes before departing for a campaign event.

In the executive order he signed on Wednesday, Trump declared it is his administration's policy to "maintain family unity", including by detaining entire families together "where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources".

Asked about the possibility of an executive order on immigration, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters: "We'll keep you posted".

"Whether our families crossed the Atlantic, the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we're only here because this country welcomed them in..." he said.

Prior to Trump's remarks, White House aides refused to comment on rumors of an executive order and Republicans on Capitol Hill seemingly had no knowledge of a coming executive action.

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"Basically you can only hold people for 20 days so it keeps the families together for at least that period of time while we hopefully get a legislative fix", said Representative Mark Meadows, chair of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, after the briefing.

"As parents we refuse sit by while the government removes children from their parents at the USA border", the organizers said when they announced the event.

Trump's family apparently played a role in his turnaround. He argued that empathy for immigrants is a core American value, and he pointed up "the cruelty of ripping children from their parents' arms".

I also liked the quick statement from Democracy for America: "Donald Trump's disgusting attempt to appear heroic by signing an executive order to temporarily end a policy of systematic child abuse that he pushed for, enabled, and excused is one of the vilest, politically-craven moves we've seen in the history of American politics". For thousands of others, though, there's no end in sight to the separations. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said his department will start reuniting detained immigrant children with their parents - but he made no specific commitment on how quickly that can be accomplished.

Many of these "missing" children, however, may be with undocumented parents or relatives and now do not wish to be found by a government that they fear would deport them all.

The children are classified as unaccompanied minors, a legal term generally used for children who cross the border alone and have a possible sponsor in the USA willing to care for them. But the implementation of "zero tolerance" by the Trump administration has led to more prosecutions and, thus, more separations. Neither, though, did it require parents to be kept in detention, apart from their children.

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