"It is still very early and we are awaiting further guidance on the matter", said Brian Marriott, senior director of communications at HHS's Administration of Children and Families.
Amid fierce political debate over a Trump administration policy that has separated immigrant children from their parents, Meghan McCain called out President Donald Trump's daughter and adviser, Ivanka Trump, for her silence on the issue. Orrin Hatch of Utah, wrote the Trump administration asking it to pause the separation of immigrant families until Congress comes up with a solution. "Probably the worst anywhere in the world", he said before entering the meeting.
Family separation is now a huge issue in the United States, where children have been taken away from their parents as a effect of the Trump government's "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration.
In this photo provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, people who've been taken into custody related to cases of illegal entry into the United States, sit in one of the cages at a facility in McAllen, Texas, Sunday, June 17, 2018.
In recent days, President Trump blamed Democrats for the policy. We're talking about trade. "Otherwise it's never going to stop", he said.
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. Expanded facilities could be key, as migrant children separated from their parents are now housed by a different department, Health and Human Services.
He said he would be taking "pre-emptive" action as the White House and lawmakers scramble to deal with fallout over the adminstration's "zero-tolerance" immigration policy that has resulted in separations at the border.
"We want to keep families together". 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".
Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, who represents the suburbs north of Philadelphia, issued a strongly worded statement on Monday but did not mention Trump, instead calling on Congress to act to stop the separation of families.More news: Rapper XXXTentacion Shot Dead in Florida
"I have no doubt Trump and Denham's lack of leadership on immigration spell deuces for Republicans in the midterm elections, especially in a district like ours, with over 40% registered Latino voters", Harder said. The language also leaves room to separate children from parents if it's best for the child's welfare.
In the House, Republican leaders scrambled to produce a revised version of the broader immigration bill that would keep children in detention longer than now permitted - but with their parents.
Trump's said the order does not alter the "zero tolerance" policy itself that the administration put in place in April. "We are especially heartbroken and enraged by stories of breastfeeding children being taken from their mothers' embrace".
Experts in child development have emphasised the trauma inflicted on the children.
Trump told Republicans during a closed-door meeting Tuesday night that he would support them "1,000 percent" on immigration but did not specifically back either bill.
Instead, the process requires coordination between Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which holds numerous parents, and HHS, which takes custody of children and places them with adult "sponsors".
In the Senate, meanwhile, Republicans are rallying behind narrow legislation that would allow detained families to stay together while expediting their deportation proceedings.
The issue struck an emotional chord, with accounts of children screaming and crying in facilities prepared for them. Those include the Flores settlement and other laws that prevent migrant children from being detained for extended periods after they're caught illegally crossing the border.
Parents who wish for their children to remain in the country with a relative who sponsors that child may do so, Bennett said, especially if the child intends to make an immigration claim such as an asylum petition.