World leaders slam Trump for separating families at the US-Mexico border

The "zero tolerance" policy isn't required by law, as Ilya Somin, professor of law at George Mason University and blogger at The Volokh Conspiracy, has argued: "They could easily exercise the discretion to avoid prosecution and family separation, as previous administrations have, and as the Trump administration itself does in the case of almost all small-time marijuana users".

The President claimed, though, that he isn't backing down.

"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.

Was your family split up after entering the US?

"President Trump on immigration: 'I'll be signing something in a little while ... something that's somewhat preemptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation, I'm sure, '" the network reported on Twitter.

Cecilia Muñoz, Obama's top domestic policy adviser, said his administration did consider a similar policy, but decided not to go through with it. "We've got to have the rule of law in this country".

The president and his top aides have insisted for days that they had no choice but to separate children from their parents due to unspecified U.S. laws. "Those are the only two options, totally open borders or criminal prosecution for law-breaking", the President had said.

By Wednesday morning, he had changed course.

British Prime Minister Theresa May, who has been hesitant to criticize President Trump and will welcome him next month on his first visit to the United Kingdom as president, blasted the administration Wednesday. Families will also be prioritized in the adjudication process.

Congressional Republicans have been scrambling to craft legislation.

Meanwhile in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio toured a facility in East Harlem that houses children separated from their parents.

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Executive orders typically require input from the Office of the Legal Counsel.

Department of Homeland Security numbers show roughly 2,000 migrant children have been separated from their families at the border in a recent six-week period.

The executive order calls on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to seek a change in the so-called Flores settlement, which prohibits immigrant children from being detained for more than 20 days.

"The dilemma is: If you're weak, which 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. I think anybody with a heart would feel very strongly about it". That's a tough dilemma.

The separation of families at the border is a choice, not a necessity.

Videgaray spoke to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to communicate his opposition directly, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert confirmed to ABC News.

Mr Trump met behind closed doors with several members of his party earlier this week, with insiders reporting he was aware of the political damage the border policy was causing.

At the meeting on Wednesday, Trump reminded the Republican lawmakers that a deal on immigration with the Democrats was nearly done in January, but a federal judge ruled in favor of keeping an Obama-era executive action shielding some illegal immigrants, known as DACA.

"We can enforce our immigration laws without breaking families apart", said House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin.

The House of Representatives was to vote on Thursday on two bills created to halt the practice of separating families and to address other immigration issues. And we're working very hard on immigration.

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