Trump wanted to use executive order to pass total immigration reform: report
President Trump indicated to aides this week that he wanted to reform America’s immigration system through an executive order before deciding on Wednesday to sign an order ending his administration’s policy of separating migrant families.
The Washington Post reported that Trump, feeling pressure from the public on his “zero tolerance” policy, wanted to assuage criticism by signing a full immigration bill. One aide described the idea to the Post as a “pretty insane idea.”
According to the Post, Trump was discouraged by government lawyers who said he was not able to issue such a broad rewrite of the immigration system. Trump then reportedly demanded aides produce an expedited executive order to curb public discontent with the family separation policy, which he then signed later Wednesday.
“We’re going to have strong, very strong borders, but we’re going to keep the families together,” Trump said at a signing ceremony Wednesday at the White House. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.”
As he signed the order, the president added: “You’re going to have a lot of happy people.”
Trump had faced intense bipartisan pressure this week to reverse his administration’s policy of separating migrant families who cross into the U.S. illegally along the southern border.
The policy resulted in the separations of more than 2,000 families from April to May — separations that Trump administration officials had acknowledged could happen.
Trump’s reversal on the executive order came just two days after Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen forcefully defended the policy at a press briefing, arguing that only Congress could pass a solution for the rising number of separated families.
The House is set to take up a GOP immigration proposal this week after a hard-line proposal failed in the House late last week.
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