‘Quit separating the kids!’ Trump faces Democratic rage on immigration

Immigrant children walk in single file between tents in their compound next to the Mexican border in Tornillo Texas

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to quell a nationwide outcry over the practice of splitting up asylum-seeking parents and children at the southern border - but that doesn't end the controversy in Congress.

"When you are prosecute the parents for coming in illegally - which should happen - you have to take the children away", Trump said in a speech to independent business owners in Washington, D.C. Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith & Freedom coalition of evangelical voters, added to the drumbeat to end the child separation policy Tuesday, calling on Congress to pass legislation that would end the process as part of a broader immigration overhaul.

There is no USA law requiring that the children of immigrants entering the country illegally be separated from their parents.

Pictures of dozens of children sleeping in fenced enclosures and audio of crying children sparked anger in the U.S. from groups ranging from clergy to influential business leaders, as well as condemnation from overseas, including Pope Francis.

Republicans were scrambling to update their approach ahead of a visit from Trump, who called earlier in the day for Congress to approve what he called a third option to address the family separations.

Another complicating factor is that Democrats would be needed to pass anything in the Senate and how much Democratic support GOP Senate leaders could count on is at best unclear.

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, pleaded with Republicans on the panel to "stand up" to Trump.

"Ivanka feels very strongly". My wife feels very strongly about it.

It was not immediately clear when Mr Trump's order would be implemented. "I think anybody with a heart would feel strongly about it". Orrin Hatch of Utah, asking the President to freeze the zero tolerance policy until a legislative solution is reached. Instinctively combative and fond of chaos, Trump usually digs in on controversial policies, rather than backing down.

Nevertheless, the White House retreated.

These inflection points, the results of Trump's own words or his provocative executive actions, have often created crises where none existed. "Children do not belong in jail". Many poll poorly; all represent significant departures from American political norms.

Two people close to Nielsen said she was the driving force behind the turnabout that led to the new order keeping families together. The bill also would allow Homeland Security to tap into a $7 billion pot of money for new or expanded residential centers to house the families in custody.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, of California, shared similar sentiments, tweeting: "It's extremely troubling that the president's executive order would require immigrant families with children to be detained indefinitely". The children are being placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services and adults are apprehended by law enforcement.

As the immigration story becomes a national flashpoint, Trump has been watching the TV coverage with increasing anger, telling confidants he believes media outlets are deliberately highlighting the worst images - the cages and screaming toddlers - to make him look bad.

The zero tolerance policy, with mandatory separation of children from adults, was announced May 7 as a deterrent.

He was also facing mounting pressure from within his own party, with some Republicans anxious there was going to be voter backlash in November if a resolution to the issue wasn't found.

Department of Homeland Security numbers show roughly 2,000 migrant children have been separated from their families at the border in a recent six-week period. Trump told House Republicans on Tuesday night he would support either of the immigration bills under consideration but did not give a preference.

The president said he is also going to seek authorization to not give USA aid to countries which "abuse us by sending their people up".

The House plans to vote this week on an amnesty bill pushed by Speaker Paul Ryan, which would go beyond the roughly 800,000 illegal aliens now enrolled in the DACA program.

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