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In recent days, we've heard the cries of preschoolers, howling for their moms and dads after being separated at the US-Mexico border. "We want the heart", he said, "but we also want strong borders and we want no crime".

Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday (local time) requiring that immigrant families be detained together when they are caught entering the country illegally for as long as their criminal proceedings take.

More: Why are immigrant children being separated from parents?

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen started the week by defending the administration's highly scrutinized policy and putting the onus on Congress to change the laws that the administration has complained restrict how it detains and processes undocumented immigrants and especially asylum seekers.

One of the people familiar with Nielsen's thinking said she believes there is no certainty that Congress will act to fix the separation issue.

The president has also cancelled the congressional picnic, which was scheduled to happen at the White House Thursday. "We have to prove it - through our policies, our laws, our actions, and our votes". "We're taking care of these children".

As children can not go to federal jail they are sent to other detention centres while their parents await trial.

This is all the more true now that ORR, in another draconian policy change, has begun working hand in hand with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"Democrats are the problem", he wrote Tuesday.

"The Fake News is not mentioning the safety and security of our Country when talking about illegal immigration. They can't win on their awful policies, so they view them as potential voters!"

Bowing to pressure from anxious allies, President Donald Trump abruptly reversed himself Wednesday and signed an executive order halting his administration's policy of separating children from their parents when they are detained illegally crossing the USA border.

Mr Trump met behind closed doors with several members of his party earlier this week, with insiders reporting he was aware of the political damage the border policy was causing.

If the president goes through with the signing, "It would be a complete 180".

The President maintained he wasn't backing down. "But we do want to keep families together", Trump said in the Oval Office.

The "zero tolerance" policy put into place last month moves adults to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and sends many children to facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services.

He said he was looking into whether the court could block deportation of parents until they have been reunited with their children, and whether it could force the Trump administration to reunite those separated.

Parents have been told to call hotlines to find their children, and the government said it would work to schedule regular phone calls. Children can't be jailed with their parents.

At an evening rally in Minnesota, Trump defended his executive order, but unlike previous events in front of friendly crowds, he devoted only a small portion of his speech to immigration.

Also playing a role: First lady Melania Trump. But the jacket she wore on the plane upended the official narrative. "Really appreciate your backing us over the years".

Trump continued blaming Democrats for the situation at the border. Until now, Trump and White House officials have instead been pushing GOP lawmakers this week to pass legislation that deals with immigration reform. I sent a letter asking the United Nations to send observers to investigate the unconscionable separation of families at the border. When the US-Mexico border was fortified in the mid-1990s under President Bill Clinton in the hopes of making the border more unsafe to cross, the result was predictable.

Americans alarmed about President Donald Trump's attacks on their basic democratic institutions need to look no further for evidence now than at the travesty occurring at southern ports of entry.

President Trump's policies must be understood within the context of these longstanding efforts to deter migration. "We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!"