WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to keep families together at the southern border, saying at the White House that he doesn’t like the sight of children being separated from their families.
He said, “We are keeping families together.”
But the president added the “zero tolerance” policy will continue.
Vice President Mike Pence added that they are calling upon Congress to change the laws. Trump adds that the word “compassion” comes into it.
Trump has been trying to win over congressional support on immigration amid a crisis along the border involving the separation of immigrant children from their families.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says the Pentagon will “respond if requested” to house migrants detained after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.
When a reporter noted that federal agencies have assessed four military bases for potential use as temporary housing for detained migrants, including unaccompanied children, Mattis said the Pentagon will “support whatever” the Department of Homeland Security says it needs. In the meantime, he said, this is not a matter for the Pentagon to comment on.
Several Latin American countries are strongly criticizing the U.S. policy of separating children from families.
Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Guatemala and Honduras are voicing their disapproval at a meeting of the Organization of the American States, or OAS, in Washington.
Mexican Ambassador Jorge Lomonaco is calling the policy “cruel” and “inhumane.” He says Mexico will host a meeting Friday with officials from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to discuss the situation.
OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro is recommending that the regional bloc’s human rights commission visit the Mexico-U.S. border to investigate.
First Lady Melania Trump “has been making her opinion known” to her husband that he needs to do all he can to keep families of migrants together.
A White House official says the First Lady has been encouraging her husband “for some time now,” to “do all he could to help families stay together, whether it was by working with Congress or anything he could do on his own.”
American Airlines says it asked the Trump administration not to put migrant children who have been separated from their parents on its flights.
In a statement Wednesday, American said it doesn’t know whether any migrant children have been on its flights and doesn’t want to profit from the current immigration policy of separating families.
American and other airlines have contracts to provide travel services to the U.S. government. American says, however, that the government doesn’t provide information about the passengers or their reason for travel.
In recent days several flight attendants have gone on social media to report seeing groups of children on their flights whom they believed to be children separated from their migrant families.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says he’ll believe that President Trump is actually reversing his family-separation policy only after he sees the details.
The former Democratic presidential candidate told the Associated Press on Wednesday that people would have to be “very naive to believe just what (Trump) says.” Sanders said that’s because the Republican president and his lieutenants “lie all the time.”
He noted that Trump has repeatedly blamed Democrats for the policy of separating children from their parents if they’re caught trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. Yet Trump’s Wednesday promise to sign an executive order keeping families together proves he had the power all along to resolve the issue himself.
Sanders said: “I’m glad to hear the news, but again, just because he says something doesn’t mean to say it’s going to be the case. We have to see the details.”
President Donald Trump says he’ll be signing something “in a little while” to address the spike in the number of migrant children being separated from their families at the border.
Trump said during a White House meeting with members of Congress that, “We want to keep families together.”
The comments come amid news that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has been working on executive action that would end the separation process.
Trump also told reporters that he plans to cancel the annual congressional picnic, saying: “It doesn’t feel right to have a picnic for Congress.”
He added that: “We want to solve this immigration problem.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May says the United States is wrong to separate migrant children from their parents, but has rejected calls to cancel President Donald Trump’s visit to Britain next month.
May said Wednesday that images of children in cages were “deeply disturbing. This is wrong. This is not something that we agree with.”
Opposition lawmakers rebuked May for not criticizing the Trump administration in stronger terms.
Trump is due to meet May and Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to Britain on July 13.
May said Britain and the United States had a “special, long and enduring relationship,” and she had “a range of issues” to discuss with Trump.
She said the close U.K.-U.S. bond meant “when we disagree with what they are doing, we say so.”
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is drafting an executive action for President Donald Trump that would direct DHS to keep families apprehended at the border together during detention.
That’s according to two people familiar with her thinking who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the effort before its official announcement.
It’s unclear whether the president is supportive of the measure.
But Nielsen is on her way to the White House to discuss the issue with the president’s team, according to one of the people.
The person says the secretary believes there is little certainty that Congress will act to fix the separation issue and is trying to find a solution. The order would ask the Department of Defense to help house the detained families.
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