President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he would soon sign an executive order on his own border separation policy that would allow families to stay together.
“I’ll be signing something in a little while that’s going to do that. I’ll be doing something that’s somewhat preemptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation, I’m sure,” he said.
An unnamed source told the New York Times that the executive order would “seek to get around an existing 1997 consent decree, known as the Flores settlement, that prohibits the federal government from keeping children in immigration detention — even if they are with their parents — for more than 20 days.”
Trump said that ultimately, he’d like to emerge from this issue with comprehensive immigration reform.
He went on to bash Democrats, labeling them as weak on immigration. “They don’t care about lack of security,” he said. “They would like to have open borders where anybody in the world can just flow in, including from the Middle East, from anybody, anywhere, they can just flow into our country.”
Despite the criticism, he lobbed the immigration hot potato into the minority party’s collective lap, saying that “we need the Democrats’ support, because we need their votes. It’s simple.”
The practice of separating families at the border stems directly from the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy and Trump could roll it back himself, without legislative support, if he chose.
Trump then distilled his personal dilemma about the border separations, predictably rooted in public perception rather than the suffering of the children involved.
“If you’re weak, if you’re weak, which some people would like you to be, if you’re really, really pathetically weak, the country is going to be overrun with millions of people,” he said. “And if you’re strong, then you don’t have any heart.”
He comforted his Republican peers by telling them that “they shouldn’t feel guilty” since immigration has been a difficult issue for “many, many years.”