SPECIAL REPORT: Trump says he will act to keep families together

The president's move comes amid growing outrage over the practice and on the eve of House votes Thursday to address the immigration problem.
16:13 | 06/20/18

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Transcript for SPECIAL REPORT: Trump says he will act to keep families together
This is an ABC news. And I Cecilia Vega coming to you live from the White House that we have breaking news president Donald Trump has just announced. That he will soon sign an executive order bringing an end to his controversial policy that has engulfed this White House in racist for the last few weeks that policy. Separating children from their parents along the US Mexico border a wanna go straight to our chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl who is standing by following this late breaking news. John the White House is really backed into a corner on this one a lot of the president's critics perhaps even his own allies might say he Kate. And what I'm told Cecily is of what the president is what they've been preparing for him to sign is something that would allow those kids. To remain in detention way that. Their parents are with their family members. Wall they are awaiting the court hearing so this is not a complete solution to this this basically. Would allow those kids to remain in detention with their families but it would be subject to challenge in the courts. All on clear very much unclear whether or not this is truly a solution of this crisis. And we are seeing those images right there on our screen John playing out soon we will be hearing from the president he is speaking. From the cabinet room here in the White House alongside some could. National members thank you very much everybody every leaving for Minnesota today we have. Two stops one a very big one and there will be a lot of fun I know a lot of your going with us reinvesting we're meeting right now. On immigration. And we are. Very strong at the border we're very strong on security we want security for our country the Republicans. Want security and insist on security for our country and we will have that. At the same time we have compassion we want to keep families together it's very important of the signing something a little while that's going to do that and be. Keep people in this room want to do that and they're working on various. Pieces of legislation to get it done. But I'll be doing something that's somewhat preemptive but ultimately will be matched by legislation I'm sure. Weapon a lot of problems with the Democrats at a what about for anything they don't care about. Lack of security they really would like to have open borders where anybody in the world could just flow and in floating from the Middle East. From anybody anywhere they can just flow into our country. Tremendous problems for that tremendous crime caused by that we're just not gonna do it I do want to say that because were also busy. And I just mentioned that congress senate the senators in the room that we are going as you cancel. And postponed tomorrow's. Congressional fact that we have a congressional picnic tomorrow I was just walking over to the Oval Office and I said you know. It doesn't feel right to have a picnic. More congress when. We're working on set doing something very of what we have many things what we're talking about trade we're talking about many many things but. It didn't feel exactly right to me so we won't be officially postponing the congressional. Picnic for tomorrow won't make it another time when things are going extremely well and they are going for the country extremely well. We have record setting numbers in every way economically but we want to solve this immigration problem which is going on for forty years more. It's been going on forever. And we want to see it we can solve it so we are canceling or postponing the congressional picnic tomorrow. Would anybody in the room had any question or statement that you'd like to make while the presses him. And the. Leno on the issue of immigration trade and investment are all areas where. Collins has the authority of the constitution and you have authority effective has the authority and the constitution I think that's. Meetings like this are really important. The leadership on both sides together but she's so appreciate she's. Let you view Sierra Leon's. You're he's he's if you re shirt over an important. Thing. And we go very much have the same views we want to keep families together the same time we have to be strong at the border otherwise not millions of people coming up not thousands like we have now you'll have. Millions of people flowing up and just from overtaking the country would not letting that happen. So we have to be very strong on the border but at the same time we want to be very compassionate. Process Lamar. Mr. President thanks for having us I think what hands was was that we we we really don't on the issues on trade on immigration. We have a partnership of the constitution we have some authority president this morning we need. I was thinking this morning when we look at president Nixon's portrait in the White House we think that he. He did the unexpected you which. Because he can do that he was in a position and doing and we have President Reagan did the unexpected he went to. When the Berlin Wall Moscow and when we were here a year ago I think suggested view this. Immigration which has bedeviled us for forty years is you've said. I believe you can. You're the president who can help us solve the immigration problem when your leadership may be able to do for immigration. What Nixon to China and Reagan did for Soviet Union and. A lot of us who like to work if you want to thank you very much that we. Need the Democrats support. Because we need your vote for a simple you know people say we have a majority and well we have they want majority in the senate. We need sixty unfortunately without go with the majority we go with sixty some day somebody will explain. Why but that's the way it is we have we need sixty votes we have 51 votes at the most. So we need Democrat votes in order to do it other words can't do it com you'll that is as something. It's very important that we protect their border we cannot allow a child. To be a get out of jail free card and get into the US free ticket. But psychology says we've all said we'd like to keep families together keep them together at the border for the orderly and timely processing. Of the adults immigration plan if it's a lawful legitimate claim we can admit the famine hit country if not the have to go back to their home countries. I'm glad you're looking for a solution for that I know that we in congress are working on legislation that will allow our hard working Border Patrol agents to keep families together. At the border and while we're process their claims at times. Fashion. Perhaps something that I have to say our Border Patrol agents and or ice agents had them one great job. I passes throwing withdrawn by the thousands MS thirteen they come into the country. We're liberating towns on Long Island and other places with throwing them out by the thousands but we need laws that don't allow them. To come back and Mac you've been very involved in this issue this. Well Mr. President there are a number of issues that. We're going to be able to discuss today to touch on our country's national security. And and certainly national. Controlling who and what comes across our border is an element of national. Security as we. To the compassionate thing when families and I got. Look forward to working with you to further strengthen our military and together we have turned around a declining situation. That's also part of what we need to do together back to large point about we both have responsibilities. We can do more together. I will say it was all of the numbers that you saved. If we weren't strong on the border you have hundreds of thousands of people pouring through the border than just before he threw. And that the country would not be the country anymore. When pat have been massive mess this thing going on for decades and we're all gonna fix it today I hope. We'll go to specific problem that puts the country and to limit here's your dilemma as president Obama's dilemma prevalent. If he if his family shows up at the border. N and we let the family. Go into the country and say please come back after hearing. About 80% of the time the adults never show for the hearing. I think most Americans felt like that is bad it will create a third wave of illegal immigration our be fair that people came here under the old system. But I don't want to create incentives to create a third way. The other choice is. As if you detained the parents who broke the law under the Florida's decision you have to break up Andrea so there's a 1997 spring creek. Court case that we've got to do as I would urge my democratic friends to see if we can't find a way to keep families together. Have a legislative fix them or us decision and argue about other things later goes right now in its present mirror your real bind if you. Detained the adults. Though the law requires the children to be separated. If you let the adults in the country they never show up. Seems to me that we want to keep the family together at the parish for their day in court. To senator Schumer. I know we've there's a lot we don't agree on but surely to goodness we can fix this court's decision caused the country's and that's that is cheap. Well let's see the dilemma is that if you're a week. If your week. Which some people would like unity you really really pathetically weak. The country's going to be overrun with millions of people added his strong. Then you don't have any heart. It's a tough dilemma. Perhaps I'd rather strong but that's a tough Fella. Rest. You know happy moments here who held thirty hearings worse here you know what you want. Use a program that's in effect we we didn't sense. There's nothing happened we've enticing people to regain security treaty calling beat Stewart. Go through yesterday we received pictures get this destitute and I have seen there's nothing happened. Here's what's passes to velcro and can stop. Just I would be true. Part of that we soared 33 or 4000 copies sold so familiar looking into this country. Then dock was its who 2012. In the problem Sarah. The numbers aren't 225. Collison who come to him just in Central America. Apollo. Almost half a million family members so we've got another 750000. Individuals. There isn't that. Bridges is our hearts content we have to stop. We saw schools it is our goal our policy should be to reduce the flow of people and sunrise this country. That's what strong enforcement actor does. So just so everybody is still was just about done we had to deal side. President Obama's aunt dot when he signed he's that I really decide this and I'm decided anyway. But he actually said I'm not allowed to sign this now to hold up. And they got a judge who held it up and they got another one that up that we had a couple that turned it down. And it's going to be a Supreme Court issue. But before it was held up every what is it that the dot it would not be held up that we had to deal with the Democrats it was a deal that everybody agreed to do. It was 25 billion dollars to develop the wall wouldn't take care. Many many different things including we'll pulse. Result. Except when this judge ruled in favor of daka meaning that it could continue until we get to the Supreme Court. All of a sudden they weren't there anymore. And that's what happened and that's why we're in this mess because we had a couple of court decisions. Which is gonna force an issue to the Supreme Court that should be forced. That the Supreme Court. A and that again as president trump just moments ago here at the White House without breaking news announcing that he will soon bring an end. And sign up perhaps an executive order of sorts to that controversial policy. His policy that has been separating. Migrant children from their parents along the US Mexico border the president there was joined by members of congress. He said he didn't have democratic support he admitted this but he also. Did not dent have Republican support on this one the senate had said that you Republicans. In that house were unanimously. Up against this policy of separating children. The president just yesterday had said that this was a problem only Democrats could fix and now it seems that he is bringing an end to that on his own and even his own allies. Has said that he was able to do with simply a phone call the president also saying that this is a big to let life your week. Potentially millions of people quit coming to this country he says. He would rather be strong we will soon go to our geo Benitez who is standing by along the US Mexico border following this story very closely but I want to begin. By going back to our chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl Jon. The president said it this is a dilemma and dilemma that followed ending controversy that in both to this White House. Here on the grounds and beyond that that video of just last night the Homeland Security secretary going out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant with protesters shouting her down. Our. Indeed and the Homeland Security secretary cures to Nielsen said on Monday that congress a loan. Can solve this problem that the White House is the administration's. Hands were tied on this. In terms of what the president is going to sign I just spoke Cecilia with somebody involved in the drafting this executive action and what I'm told. Is it will not end a zero tolerance policy. You will still have those that are apprehended at the border and claim asylum will still be held in detention. Currently. Because of a court decision many years ago shoulder and can only be held fur for twenty days in detention. For twenty days after which point they must be separated and put to a in India facility. From the department of health and human Serbs has. What this executive action would do is it would allow. The the department of justice Department of Homeland Security. To hold of these children in detention facilities we if there family members. While they await the hearing on their asylum claims so this is not a full solution to this it does not end zero tolerance. But it basically allows. Those children to remain wind their parents in detention. While they await their hearings. But again it is those images John we are seeing right there beside you that have been so controversial of seeing those children separated from their parents Jon Karl thank ya wanna turn to our geo Benitez. Now who is standing by on the border in El Paso, Texas GO. Any word yet this is breaking news that any word yet on how this is playing their among those families. You know I can imagine that a lot of these children's advocates are going to be very happy about this because we're talking about more than 2300. Children that were recently separated children that we know about at least. That were recently separated from their families they are at the border. And these children's advocates have been saying. What does this do to the mind of a child in fact these children so young that now just before Good Morning America this morning. We learned about what's called a tender age shelter we know that there are three of them that have now been built that have now been opened up these tender age shelters. And those are going to be housing children that are. Levy's we're told toddlers and a lot of kids with special needs and so children's advocates were looking at that in saying wait a minute what is that about in fact one of the volunteers actually came out of one of those facilities this morning and said that the children inside. We're praying to see their mom or dad. Heartbreaking images great reporting down their GO our thanks to you our thanks to Jon Karl we. We'll be following this story throughout the course of that the course of the day of course we will have more this evening on world news tonight with David Muir and you could follow our digital coverage which will continue now at throughout the day. For now I'm Cecilia Vega reporting in from the White House have a good day. This has been a special. From ABC.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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