WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump said he would sign an executive order on immigration on Wednesday to end the immediate separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, which has sparked outrage in the United States and abroad.
An administration official said Trump would sign an order that would require immigrant families to be detained together if they are caught crossing the border illegally. Trump previously had insisted his hands were tied on the separation policy.
The order also would move parents with children to the front of the line for immigration proceedings but would not end a “zero tolerance” policy that urges criminal prosecution of immigrants crossing the border illegally, the official said.
“I’ll be doing something that’s somewhat pre-emptive but ultimately will be matched by legislation I’m sure,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“We want security for our country,” Trump said. “We will have that as the same time we have compassion … I’ll be signing something in a little while that’s going to do that.”
Videos of youngsters in cages and an audiotape of wailing children have sparked anger in the United States from groups ranging from clergy to influential business leaders, as well as condemnation from abroad, including Pope Francis.
The House of Representatives planned to vote on Thursday on two bills designed to halt the practice of separating families and to address other immigration issues.
But Republicans said they were uncertain if either measure would have enough support to be approved. Trump told House Republicans on Tuesday night he would support either of the immigration bills under consideration but did not give a preference.