WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – President Trump says he doesn’t want to separate children from parents who illegally cross the border into the United States.
The comments come as his ‘zero-tolerance’ policy continues to spark backlash including from many in his own party.
Trump met with house republicans Tuesday to discuss immigration.
“It’s been a really bad, bad system, probably the worst anywhere in the world,” Trump said. “We’re going to try to see if we can fix it.”
The president says as it stands now, his only options are an open border or prosecuting those who cross it illegally.
“So what I’m asking congress to do is to give us a third option which we’ve been requesting since last year – the legal authority to detain and promptly remove families together as a unit,” Trump said.
The trump administration’s new ‘zero tolerance’ policy – separating children from parents who enter the country illegally – is drawing intense criticism even among republicans.
“I think he’s wrong in this particular area today,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Texas Republican Ted Cruz is introducing a senate bill that would reunite separated families, authorize new temporary shelters to house them and double the number of federal immigration judges to work through a backlog of asylum requests.
“All of us are horrified at the images we’re seeing,” Cruz said.
Senator Cruz’s plan has some Republican support, but President Trump has indicated he is not behind at least one part of it.
“I don’t want judges, I want border security,” Trump said.
Religious leaders rallied outside U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters, urging the Trump Administration to halt its policy.
And in Florida, democratic Senator Bill Nelson accused the Trump Administration of a cover up after he and other lawmakers were turned away from visiting a shelter for unaccompanied children.
“They are obviously hiding something,” said Sen. Bill Nelson.
According to the Department of Homeland Security more than 2,300 children were separated from their parents at the border from May 5th to June 9th.