House immigration plan would allow families to be detained together

Heartbreaking recording of crying children at US border fuels fury over immigrant separations

Sen. Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader from NY, is adamant that Trump can end the family separations on his own and that legislation is not needed.

The House is to vote later this week on two bills that address broader immigration issues to protect young immigrant "Dreamers", who have been living in the USA illegally since childhood, from deportation and fund Trump's border wall.

Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen toured facilities in southern Texas where these children are being held, and said the enforcement of the policy is not working.

But a defiant Trump sounded unfazed by the mounting pressure to alleviate the situation before it ruptures into a public relations disaster for his party.

Trump insisted he had no choice but to criminally prosecute every adult crossing into the U.S. from Mexico, meaning "you have to take children away". "I'm actually looking forward to reading what Senator Cruz sends us", the Democratic Senator told TIME.

After his remarks, the president raised eyebrows by walking across the stage, arms outstretched, and embracing a United States flag. The president also continued to blame Democrats, tweeting in all caps "CHANGE THE LAWS!" "I don't want people coming in". "Mexico does nothing for us", charged Trump. As much as Republicans say they hate the current immigration system, they've shown time and again that they're perfectly happy to shake their fists at it but leave it in place.

In the Senate, meanwhile, Republicans rallied behind a different approach.

"Tragically, millions of children are negatively impacted and separated from their parents on a daily basis by the epidemic of divorce, abuse, alcoholism and other matters that plague the family", Daly said in a statement.

Amnesty International branded the action "nothing short of torture" and Apple's chief executive Tim Cook called it "inhumane".

The ICE standards include mandates on care for detainees, including mental health care, nutritional foods, clean bedding, linens, blankets and towels, translation services, allowing for correspondence with family members and legal counsel.

Tuesday's huddle between Trump and Republican lawmakers will be closely watched, in part to see whether any of them dare to directly confront the president.

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Perhaps those precedents are why the White House went full steam ahead on the new zero-tolerance policy without first preparing for the entirely predictable escalation in family separations.

Lines of migrant children move through an immigration detention center in Texas. All eyes are on the administration as it continues to grapple with a nationwide outcry over its "zero tolerance" policy of separating children from immigrant parents at the U.S. -Mexico border.

Kennedy acknowledged that addressing undocumented immigration is "a legitimately hard issue", but argued it's unacceptable for the US government to target young children.

An audio recording released by transparency group ProPublica purports to feature Central American children separated from their parents sobbing and wailing.

"We are not going to let this country be overwhelmed", he said in a speech in San Diego.

DHS has rejected claims that it has a blanket policy to separate families at the border, stating Monday that it will separate adults and minors under certain circumstances, including: when it's unable to determine the familial relationship, when it determines a child may be at risk with the parent or legal guardian or when a parent or legal guardian is referred for criminal prosecution.

The majority crossed the border without their parents.

As Mr Trump walked out of the closed-door meeting in the Capitol basement, he was confronted by about a half-dozen House Democrats, who yelled, "Stop separating our families!"

But activists seized on the symbolism.

Former first lady Laura Bush called out the administration's practices, comparing the children to those who were placed in kennels at Japanese internment camps during World War II.

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