U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending the process of separating children from families after they are detained crossing the U.S. border illegally, which has sparked outrage in the United States and overseas.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order to keep families apprehended at the border together, weeks after implementing the "zero tolerance" policy that separated thousands of migrant children from their parents.
Justice Department officials have huddled since Wednesday morning working on an executive order for the President to sign that will address the separation of families, according to a source familiar with the plans.
After children are released to a parent or relative, guardians must make sure the kids attend immigration court hearings and check in regularly with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"We need you, those children need you -and I am talking directly to my Republican colleagues- we need you to stand up to President Donald Trump", he said.
"I'll be signing something in a little while that's going to do that", Trump said.
The proposal would also eliminate the 20-day cap on DHS administrative custody for accompanied children, so families would be kept together in the custody of DHS throughout criminal proceedings.
The policy for adults who arrive with minors after an illegal border crossing was, and continues to be, that children can be taken from adults under three conditions: if immigration officials believe the child to be in danger, if they believe the adult is not the child's parent or guardian and/or if they arrest the adults.
The Republican legislation would also provide $25bn (£19bn) in funding for border security, including Mr Trump's planned US-Mexico wall.
The House is to vote later this week on two bills that address broader immigration issues to protect young immigrant "Dreamers", who have been living in the US illegally since childhood, from deportation and fund Trump's border wall.
Trump, as well as other administration officials such as Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, said that the White House's hands were tied regarding family separations, adding that only Congress could solve the problem.
Leaders in both the House and Senate are struggling to shield the party's politicians from the public outcry over images of children taken from migrant parents and held in cages at the border.
But even after the meeting, it was unclear which of two rival immigration bills being brought by Republicans Trump favours.
But the directive may violate a 2008 law that require special handling of migrant children who must be transferred from Nielsen's department to the Department of Health and Human Services after 72 hours.
However, Obama was criticized for detaining families together, some of which were held indefinitely while their cases were resolved.
The US House of Representatives is due to consider a bill on the issue Thursday.
Democrats said the images of children being held in cages in border facilities, some crying for their parents, would be a moment remembered in USA history.
Top conservatives, including key Trump allies, have introduced bills to keep the migrant families together. Sen.
Passions have been running high in recent days, with Republican and Democratic lawmakers, faith leaders, former first ladies and others up in arms over the family separations at the US-Mexico border.