President Donald Trump has signed off on a plan presented by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen that would stop Trump’s own policy of separating migrant parents from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The president’s action came after he tweeted Wednesday morning that he was “working on something” to “pass good immigration legislation.”
“We all very much have the same views, we want to keep families together,” Trump said later Wednesday during a meeting with Republican lawmakers. But he added that he is scared that “millions of people are coming up, overtaking the country. We have to be very strong on the border but at the same time we want to be compassionate.”
The executive order states the administration will “maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources. It is unfortunate that Congress’s failure to act and court orders have put the Administration in the position of separating alien families to effectively enforce the law.”
For her part, Nielsen’s sudden about-face ― related by two people familiar with Nielsen’s thinking who spoke to the AP ― comes just days after she defended the practice and said it was the law to separate the children. It is not a law.
“It’s a law passed by the United States Congress,” Nielsen falsely said in response to a reporter on Monday. “Rather than fixing the law, Congress is asking those of us who enforce the law to turn our backs on the law and not enforce the law. That’s not an answer.”
At just one Texas facility, nearly 1,500 children are being detained, locked in cages and unable to see their family members. Audio released by ProPublica captured children crying and begging for their parents.
On Tuesday evening, while Nielsen attempted to have dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Washington, D.C., protestors swarmed her and chanted “Shame!” and “Sanctuary for all!”