In Reversal, Trump Allows Kids’ Detention with Parents

After intense pressure from across the political spectrum, President Trump plans to sign an order that would keep detained parents at the Mexican border with their children. A federal consent decree says children must be released after 20 days.

President Trump on Wednesday abandoned his debunked argument that he had no authority to stop separations of undocumented immigrant families at the border, saying he would sign an order to keep parents and kids together, CNN reports. Trump’s reversal came after he faced intense pressure from across the political spectrum and from religious, political and world leaders to halt the separations, which produced days of heartrending news coverage of crying children, some of whom were kept in cage-like detention centers. “I’ll be doing something that’s somewhat preemptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation I’m sure,” Trump said after a frenzied morning in which he huddled with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other officials in a bid to end a worsening political crisis.

One source familiar with new executive order said it will not end the “zero-tolerance” policy but will be more narrowly focused on ending the family separations by allowing families to be detained together. The move was almost certain to face immediate legal action challenging the administration’s authority to keep families detained at length. Executive orders typically require input from the Office of the Legal Counsel. The details of the executive order have been worked out between the White House, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. The White House may run into legal difficulties if the executive order requires families to be held intact together indefinitely because a federal consent decree known as the Flores settlement says children must be released after 20 days.