June 20 (UPI) — President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order ending the practice of separating families at the U.S.-Mexican border.
“It’s about keeping families together while at the same time being sure that we have a very power and very strong border,” Trump said. “And border security will be equal if not greater than previously.”
“I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”
Trump said his immigration policy “continues to be zero tolerance.”
“We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally,” he said.
The order is a reversal for the president and his administration. In a speech Tuesday, he said congressional action was the way to resolve the issue.
The Trump administration has been under increasing pressure from the public, religious leaders and Democrats in Congress, as well as most Republicans to end the well-publicized practice of separating children from parents at border detention facilities.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen visited the White House on Wednesday to work with administration lawyers to devise an executive order to end the segregation, Politico reported, citing an unnamed source.
Until Wednesday, Trump had held firm on the matter. He’s said Democrats are using the issue against him, but has signaled that he seeks a quick end to the controversy.
“We’re having a lot of problems with Democrats that don’t want to vote for anything,” he said. “They don’t care about lack of security. They really would like to have open borders where anybody in the world can just flow in, including from the Middle East, from anybody anywhere they can just flow into our country.”
On Wednesday afternoon, congressional Democrats gathered on the Capitol steps to protest the practice of child separation.
“When the president said these actions are not of his doing, he is not telling the truth,” House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said.
“The truth is … his administration instituted the zero-tolerance policy, which again is a disgrace to our nation, it is a stain on our history and it hurts these little children.”