U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he would sign an executive order to keep migrant families together at the border with Mexico, amid an escalating uproar over the separation of children from their parents.
Heart-rending scenes and sounds of crying children taken from their families have aroused a firestorm of opposition to Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration.
After long insisting that Congress alone could solve the problem, the Republican president seemed ready to take the matter into his own hands.
“We are signing an executive order in a little while,” Trump said at the White House, noting that he hoped it would happen in parallel with legislation passed by Congress.
“We are going to keep families together. But we have to maintain toughness, or our country will be overrun by people, by all of the things that we don’t stand for,” Trump said at a meeting with cabinet members and Republican lawmakers.
The US House of Representatives is due to consider a bill on the issue Thursday.
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday the legislation will resolve multiple issues in dealing with the high flow of illegal immigrants and asylum seekers, including the practice of separating families.
More than 2,300 children have been taken from parents since May 5 under the current policy.
Trump blamed the past administrations of George W Bush and Barack Obama for not doing more to resolve the problem on their watch.
“This has been going on for many, many years. We’ll see if we can solve it. This is not something that happened just now,” he said.