Trump's migrant policy: First blowback, then about face

Lawmakers react to Trump's executive order ending family separation at border

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Migrant families from Mexico, fleeing from violence, listen to officers of the US Customs and Border Protection before entering the United States to apply for asylum at Paso del Norte worldwide border crossing bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on June 20, 2018.

Speaker Paul Ryan is pushing ahead with votes on rival House GOP immigration bills, but neither appears to have enough support for passage, prompting President Donald Trump to take executive action Wednesday to stem the crisis of family separations at the border. Officials have said they are working to reunite families as soon as possible but have provided no clear answers on how that will happen.

Frustrated that even his political allies were questioning his heart, President Donald Trump determined early Wednesday he would break with days of his own misleading claims and end the practice of separating families at the border.

Pelosi said using terrified small children as "leverage" to push the President's anti-immigrant agenda represents an "unspeakably appalling moral low-point for our nation".

But children already separated will not be immediately reunited with their families as the order did not cover existing cases. Family separation has seen a recent uptick due to Attorney General Jeff Sessions's "zero-tolerance" policy for illegal entry at the U.S. -Mexico border.

"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.

Videos of youngsters in cages and an audiotape of wailing children had sparked anger in the United States from groups ranging from clergy to influential business leaders, as well as condemnation from overseas, including Pope Francis.

"[We] have to do more than say 'this isn't who we are.'" he wrote. Trump signed an executive order Wednesday stopping that practice, but called on Congress to find a permanent solution. "That's a mistake. That doesn't work", Cruz said.

"My wife feels strongly about it. Perhaps I would rather be strong, but that's a tough dilemma", he told lawmakers in a White House meeting that culminated in his administration backing down.

"I think Trump takes issues on in his own direct way, but it doesn't fit the politically correct narrative of the media or the Democrats", said Klabechek, who is retired. Many come from states with large immigrant populations now at risk of deportation after Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Members of Congress have learned Trump simply can't be trusted to keep to a single position from one day to the next.

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He had tried to blame Democrats for the policy of separating children from parents and force them into concessions, including funding for a wall he wants to build along the border with Mexico.

Trump and others in the White House have made similar spelling errors in the past. A senior Justice Department official said that hasn't changed. Administration lawyers will petition a Los Angeles-area federal court to modify that settlement and allow kids to be detained for longer with their parents.

And Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was verbally attacked by Trump over trade, also said the current United States policy of separating child migrants from their parents and detaining them is "unacceptable".

"It has always been an American value to keep families together even when you are adjudicating the lawful or unlawful status of the parents", Nelson said.

His comments were echoed by rights groups, who continued to raise concerns over the president's immigration policies after the executive order was signed.

"The U.S. authorities create different files for the children than for the parents, and it's very hard to follow up on those cases", Torres said.

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

"First, there are more than 2,000 children already separated from their parents; the executive order does nothing to address that nightmare", said Michelle Brané, director of the Migrant Rights and Justice Program at the Women's Refugee Commission.

All heads of executive departments and agencies must make available to DHS any facilities that could be used to house and care for families pending immigration proceedings.

The president met House Republicans on Tuesday discuss immigration legislation, with the family separation policy as a central topic. "Instead, they are intent on furthering their agenda of open borders and trying to release all illegal alien families and minors who show up at the border", the President said.

Some Democrats in Congress called for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resign.

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