"I did not like the sight of families being separated", he said, at the signing ceremony but added the administration would continue its "zero tolerance policy" of criminally prosecuting anyone who crosses the border illegally. However, the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy of prosecuting all illegal border crossings has caused an increased number of these separations.
"So we're talking about children in some cases who literately can't even communicate, have no idea what's happening to them, no ability to be in touch with their families", he said.
Protesters were galvanized to act after distressing photos and stories hit social media depicting children separated from their parents and sleeping in cages, crammed five in a room at repurposed Walmarts, or in so-called "tent cities" at costs reportedly exceeding what it would take to keep families together.
It prompted church groups, politicians and children's advocates to criticise the policy of separating children from their parents as inhumane.
In the 2015 case, Judge Dolly M. Gee of a Federal District Court in California rejected the Obama Administration's arguments to keep family detention centers active, citing the 1997 Flores settlement. Be smart America! 'If you don't have Borders, you don't have a Country!
The 2016 ruling made it "much more hard for the federal government to use the detention authorities Congress gave it", DHS said. "I don't doubt that when this crisis is over, there will be many parents who won't ever see their children again".
Immigration and Customs Enforcement Deputy Director Tom Homan said on May 7, "We've got intelligence that alien smuggling organizations are making children available to single adults so that they can come and claim to be a family unit and not be detained. That's a tough dilemma", Trump said. "But at the same time I think you have to understand we are keeping families together, but we have to keep our borders strong".
Trump speaks at the White House.
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Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is drafting the executive action that would direct the Department of Homeland Security to detain families together after crossing the border without authorization, the Associated Press reports. "We're working on a much more comprehensive bill", said Trump, who was flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and Nielsen. This rule has led to harsher prosecutions and the further erosion of due process-and it helped lay the groundwork for family separation.
After the GOP leadership team's news conference, Majority Whip Steve Scalise clarified to ABC News that the House will vote on two alternative measures, the Goodlatte bill and the so-called compromise bill - both of which include policy to end family separation, boost funding for detention centers, solve the DACA problem and fund the border wall.
Trump's said the order does not alter the "zero tolerance" policy itself that the administration put in place in April.
Since children can not be sent to the facilities where their parents are held, they are separated from them.
Hours before signing his executive order, Mr Trump again blamed the opposition Democratic Party for the situation at the U.S. border with Mexico.
The measure would also offer protections to another vulnerable group - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients - who are undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.
The order is titled "Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation".
House leaders have been considering two competing bills.