Trump signs executive order to end family separations at US border

It comes amid growing outrage over the administration's immigration practices

Trump signs executive order to end family separations at US border

Picture by: Evan Vucci/AP/Press Association Images

Donald Trump has signed an executive order to keep families together at the US-Mexico border.

However, the administration's 'zero tolerance' approach to illegal immigration will continue.

It came as Republicans in the House of Representatives said they will vote tomorrow on legislation to address the issue, amid increasing outrage over current US immigration practices.

More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents since early May as part of the crackdown on illegal border crossings.

Since children cannot be held federal jail, they are instead being held in detention centres while their parents await trial.

The practice led to widespread condemnation, both internationally and domestically. 

Signing the executive order this evening, President Trump said: "It's about keeping families together, while at the same time being sure that we have a very strong, very powerful border... border security will be equal if not greater than previously.

"I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated."

The US President had earlier told reporters he would be taking action to both improve border security and help keep families together.

He observed: "I'll be doing something that's somewhat preemptive, but ultimately will be matched by legislation I'm sure."

Republican plans

Speaking today, House Speaker Paul Ryan insisted his Republican party does not want children taken away from their parents.

He said: "We can enforce our immigration laws without breaking families apart. The administration says it wants Congress to act - and we are."

Announcing a vote for tomorrow, he said: "Under this bill, when people are being prosecuted for illegally crossing the border, families will remain together under [Department of Homeland Security] custody throughout the lengths of their legal proceedings.

"Additional funding is also going to be made available, so that DHS has sufficient resources to house and care for families during this entire process."

The legislation comes as Republican leaders scramble to resolve the growing political crisis, amid apparent splits in the party over the wider issue of immigration.

Earlier today, President Trump continued to blame Democrats for the policy implemented by his administration.