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The policy, introduced in May by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, caused widespread outrage in the U.S. this week after pictures of children being separated from their parents and placed in detention were splashed across the media. In recent weeks, more than 2,500 such children were separated from their parents. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Trump continued to falsely place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Democrats in Congress. Trump officials could not say how many of those children have been reunited with their mothers and fathers.

Under the administration's current policy, all unlawful crossings are referred for prosecution - a process that 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.

House Democrat Juan Vargas participated in a loud and rare protest against a sitting president by US lawmakers inside the US Capitol. "We want to be strong at the border but we also want to be compassionate", Trump said. The Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center said the order didn't go almost far enough.

The executive order, signed by Trump, asks the Department of Homeland Security to keep families together while people await trial for illegal border crossing.

More than 2,300 minors were separated from their children at the border from May 5 through June 9, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

"It is particularly galling that President Trump seeks to continue violating children's human rights to justify and gin up support for the anti-family language included in Speaker Ryan's anti-immigrant bill", she said.

It's unclear what will happen to the families that have already been separated.

"I am calling for us to end the policy of separating families", Rauner said.

But he went ahead Wednesday with a scheduled trip to Duluth, Minnesota, including a nighttime "Make America Great Again" campaign rally for a Republican congressional candidate.

Trump Abandons His Policy Of Separating Immigrant Families
Finally, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is directed to prioritize the adjudication of cases involving detained families. Curbelo said that Nielsen pledged to work to reunite children now separated from their parents "as soon as possible".

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"So what I'm asking Congress to do is to give us a third option, which we have been requesting since a year ago, the legal authority to detain and promptly remove families together as a unit", Trump said Tuesday. The president's surprise decision comes after images of children being separated from their parents erupted a national political firestorm.

The network says House GOP leaders put together a compromise bill that would allow families to be together with the Department of Homeland Security throughout criminal proceedings, specifically when the crime concerns first-time illegal border-crossers.

Earlier, as countries marked World Refugee Day Wednesday, global leaders assailed Trump for the separations.

"The Flores Settlement prohibits the indefinite detention of children - even with their families - and any order to undermine this critical protection will be immediately challenged in court", said senior Democratic Senator Dick Durbin. "And we also add new judges so that we can expedite the hearing they're entitled to, and dispose of their case either by sending them back together as a family or admitting them into the country as a family".

And members on the fence over pending immigration legislation headed to the White House to meet with Trump. Those include the Flores settlement and other laws that prevent migrant children from being detained for extended periods after they're caught illegally crossing the border. The experts cite research showing that family separation can cause long-term trauma for children.

"He mentioned that his daughter Ivanka had encouraged him to end this and he said he does recognize that it needs to end and the images are painful and he's looking for a legislative solution", CNN reported Florida congressman Carlos Curbelo as saying.

Cruz's bill would double the number of federal immigration judges, authorize new temporary shelters to house migrant families and limit the processing of asylum cases to no more than 14 days - a goal immigrant advocates say would be hard to meet.

It contains several of Trump's main priorities, including border wall funding, protecting young "Dreamer" immigrants who were brought to the country as children and curbs on legal immigration programs such as an end to the visa lottery.