House to Vote on Broad Immigration Bill Thursday, Ryan Says

House to Vote on Broad Immigration Bill Thursday, Ryan Says

Justice Department officials have huddled since Wednesday morning working on an executive order for the President to sign that will address the separation of families, according to a source familiar with the plans.

Many were quick to point out the irony of the administration misspelling the very word that had it embroiled in weeks of controversy as thousands of children were separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

From May, when the policy was enacted, through June 9, nearly 2,300 children have been separated from their parents, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

At issue is a 1997 court settlement that bars the feds from detaining migrant children (even with their parents) for more than 20 days.

"The first lady has been making her opinion known to the president for some time now, which was that he needed to do all he could to help families stay together", an official said.

When US couple Charlotte and Dave Willner saw the photo, they started a Facebook fund-raising page on Saturday to collect money for the Refugee and Immigrant Centre for Education and Legal Services, a non-profit organisation that provides low-priced legal defence services to immigrant and refugee families in Texas. You can find out more information on that and on locally organized events right here.

House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters that one of the bills would increase funding to the Department of Homeland Security to source housing and care for families during criminal proceedings against parents. As of mid-June, the three centers were almost full, meaning ICE would potentially need to place children in its much larger network of immigration jails for adults.

Until Wednesday, Trump claimed that Congress had the sole authority to end the child separation policy - by passing new legislation.

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"The dilemma is that if you're weak, as some people would like you to be, if you're really, really pathetically weak, the country's going to be overrun with millions of people", Trump said on Wednesday, explaining his internal debate, "and if you're strong, then you don't have any heart".

In the meeting late Tuesday, Mr. Trump stopped short of telling House Republicans that he would immediately reverse his policy.

Still, Trump's order is likely to create a new set of problems involving length of detention of families, and may spark a fresh court fight. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said his department will start reuniting detained immigrant children with their parents - but he made no specific commitment on how quickly that can be accomplished.

"We're going to have strong, very strong borders, but we're going to keep the families together", said Trump, who added that he didn't like the "sight" or "feeling" of children separated from their parents.

The president acknowledged that he had viewed TV images Wednesday morning of distraught children taken away from their parents, as well as TV footage from 2014 of forlorn unaccompanied minor children captured at the border during the Obama administration. After the Congresswoman from Wisconsin had finished speaking, Trump told her, "Say hello to your father".

"But we have to do more than say 'this isn't who we are.' We have to prove it - through our policies, our laws, our actions, and our votes", he concluded.

That's the reality for so numerous families whose plights we see and heart-rending cries we hear.

He called the measure "somewhat preemptive" but called on Congress to work towards a more permanent fix on the issue, saying that perhaps a more comprehensive immigration reform bill- one that may tackle the family separation issue, while also addressing security concerns, etc. - may be possible.

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