Trump to sign executive order on family separation

President Donald Trump announced the order, which a source says will not end the zero-tolerance policy, just days after saying it's not possible to end the practice by executive action.
15:49 | 06/20/18

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Transcript for Trump to sign executive order on family separation
Breaking news there in Washington DC this immigration issue is front and center. You heard there the president laying out the dilemma this whole argument about balancing strength and compassionate themes. Is though they found. At least an opportunity to move forward in trying to find a resolution to this issue I'm joined now by Rick Klein our political director he's in Washington DC. Rick. There's a whole lot to get to hear he's. Talking about votes he's talking about dams wanting borders be opened and asking for their support to get this done. Of course the blame game. Where did we start. Woolley immediate term is going to be what is this executive order president trump said just Friday that he could not sign an executive order suit to stop this policy just yesterday he said we have two choices we either don't enforce the border laws and let people go catch and release. Or we separate children from their families so that he tells of this executive order are going to be critical. I you can imagine is going to be court challenges from may be every direction. Even the attorney general the United States seem to suggest that this would not be something that the president could do legally so there's some irony there. In and the president now reversing course and saying he would sign something you're hurt our colleague Jon Karl report that this is gonna be something small but we'll have to see but he tells our. Recline make you so much reason we did talk about earth did talk about the ideas that it will not in the zero tolerance coliseum joined now by Cecilia Vega. At the White House who just provide that special report for us Cecilia. What a difference a day makes again the president is saying yesterday that he couldn't do with the loan and then just a phone call is all this thing took. Well essentially a phone call an end to get his Homeland Security secretary down here to hammer out this legislation and now a signature but you know you're exactly right this is the president. I think a lot of people would say caving backing he was backed into corner I don't know that they were going to be able to get out of this in any other way it really he had to do something the public pressure. Was melting heat he had been bleeding as you so rightfully say Democrats for weeks as recently as this morning saying that Democrats were to blame. For this policy he called it a lie it's a policy that his administration treated at Lindsey Graham an ally sometimes Allen on Capitol Hill. Had said that the president alone could fix this immediately with a phone call but the president continued to dig in and really blame Democrats you know. He he wants broader immigration reform he wants his walk or wall. It remains to be seen now whether that will get done with her back to ground zero in terms of the immigration fight here in Washington DC because the president with. Really using this as leverage to get his this broader immigration package. Signs now on his desk Brinkley and now I think there a lot of people here in this administration or. Who are happy that perhaps this controversy is going early and weigh at least for that short term future but they've got immigration. Back on their hands with not not allot dot. Cynthia Vega force there at the White House thank you so much to suit you better talk now to Jon Karl opted to give us a little bit more information on what this executive action will or won't do we do know it you just mentioned that it will not end it. This zero tolerance policy that right yen off. I've I've spoken somebody involved in the drafting of this executive action we haven't actually seen it the president hasn't as far as we know signed it yet he has said he will sign quote something what I am told. According to somebody involved in the drafting of this executive action. Is it would allow the children to be detained we have their family members while they await a hearing on their asylum claim. So right now shoulder can only be detained by the criminal justice system for twenty days twenty days that's because of a of a settlement in court case that goes back some twenty years. So now what that what this executive actually do is it was actually instructed Justice Department to ignore. That court. Quarter and it challenges and wallet is being challenged to allow those Childers remain. In in in detention facilities in justice detention facilities. We had their parents right now after twenty it would hit that's when he day marked the Childers separated they go off into a separate holding facility that's operated. Not by the Justice Department. Not within the justice system but by the Department of Health and Human Services. You might say what's the difference you're here you're detained either way while. That there is a significant difference. That that is basically providing some kind Avaya. A child care a situation where they were there held without their parents now they would be in the justice system. Held in detention wave there parents but Zachary it's important point out this is not ending as you pointed out. The zero tolerance. A policy. Everybody would be detained if caught still be detained until their hearing. On on the asylum claims dawn. Oh yeah it might be defeated the short term and so it's I guess it. Yes it's a short term fix and by the way it might not stand up to the courts because it's going to be challenged immediately. Because basically their fixes to say. Odd these kids can be held in. In detention. It detention for a longer period of time in the courts have said now it's week there it's when their parents are with their family members. But it's saying it did its instructing the Justice Department to define. What the courts have said so it's unclear of this will. Will ultimately you withstand scrutiny by the courts. Jonathan Karl force there in Washington DC make you so much Reuters in that we really appreciated John. We had downed two El Paso, Texas now we talked to GO beneath this earlier today of course he was on GM main he has been. Giving us a body inside in to these. Facilities for youngsters down there are some heartbreaking stories. GO Heidi you process this news in what do you think it means for the folks. There at the border. Yes Thackeray I think that a lot of child advocates there are going to be we've been hearing this and and and welcoming this news because they have been so concerned about what this could possibly be doing. To the minds of these children so many young children we're talking again about more than 2300. Children who were recently separated. From their parents at the border that was just in the past month or so and so many of them. Are ending up in these shelters some of them are ending up in ten cities others are ending up in these shelters that we've seen those pictures of that that looked to be pages of that we also are hearing now about these tender age shelters these are special filters just for the very young we're talking about babies were talking about toddlers and of course even special needs children and the officials that we've spoken to they say that there are well trained clinicians. In those facilities but advocates say it doesn't matter because as long as they are separated from their families nothing is an off. And one of the volunteers. That we've spoke with one of our cameras walking out of one of those facilities. Actually said you know what when I was in there the children were rain. Prayed that they could see their mom and dad. Again and speak to them so it's. It's a very difficult situation I think for not just a lot of families but also child advocates who work so hard on this very issue. Unbelievable reporting down their force. GO I wanna talk with a bit about. Did it because they kind of of the trauma. And did these issues. It happened when this happens the youngsters during these informative years of their lives I know you've been talking to a lot of advocates down there what would be here. Oval you know what they're pointing to some of these these stories that we've been seeing out where we're talking about a six year old little girl who who we heard on that tape that was obtained by pro public up. And we and we heard how she was begging to speak with her ought. Her ought did get on the phone with her and told us that you know what this was. Just one of the most difficult conversations she's ever had with a child because that conversation was very difficult it is to describe to a six year old Y she wasn't able to be with with her. With her mother and we also know about the ten year old Guatemalan boy are Alex Perez is actually flying right now. To Guatemala with this boy because eight months for eight months he hasn't seen his father. Who was arrested on the border when they crossed over illegally. That little boy was then placed in Foster care. The Foster parents were saying that he was so fearful that that he put it look at a police officer and and and and not be afraid. And that is what Alex described. Happened at the airport when he saw a police officer he says that he was immediately afraid that he he just was very observance and and and sort of not trusting a lot of people so so we're seeing what that damage could potentially be. To the minds of some of these. Very young kids. When you talk about youngsters in this kind of tender age group obviously some of them are old enough to even know their own means mispronounced her own name. Is there any you know evidence if the meant that set up. In terms of matching. Whether it bracelet or number or something so. How how do these families reunite how'd they find each. You know a lot of different groups will go win and work with the government. To it to hopefully organize that reunification process. But it that you know there's there's a lot of these groups that are going in that Guatemalan boy was taken in by one of these groups and and put into the Foster care system and and in fact apparently the little boy fell in love with his Foster parents. So so they do have a system but. A sum of child advocates are saying you know what we're a little worried about it's children could be lost in the system and never see their parents again parents were given a phone number to go ahead and call. And try to reunite with the children if they hating god. Through that immigration system. But but clearly that this was an issue for a lot of advocates here. Jubilee tea is with us all morning long thank you so much experience right down there and get them stay for right. We want to go back now to Rick Klein our political directives in Washington DC Rick's been. Opponents out with this you know Rick we heard from a the president just a few minutes ago he said something to the affected. This was all done we didn't have to be here right did. Did that a judge ruled in favor of doc in so. Kind of for me write it if it happened but didn't have to be this way. Heidi makes him the vote. That is the creative. Rewriting of history at best the president has had many opportunities to cutting immigration deals that would involve the legalization of Bach or sit in its. And that is all separate from this issue about what to do with the border the zero tolerance policy enacted over the spring by the Department of Justice was separate in the long running decades old debate over immigration reform. It happened to come to a head this we are confluence of timing we saw the pictures. And we have a national outcry concern at the same time that House of Representatives was about that's considered his immigration legislation. And that's how it all got wrapped together there is no reason to be together and there's a lot of pressure growing to try to deal with it one at a time. An increasingly Zachary the president was on an island on he was a while he was isolated inside his own party. Prominent members of the Republican Party were calling on him to act. Crying out for him publicly and privately to say you have to do something about this is just simply un American it is dangerous it's harmful it is not something we want to see in the United States. And he was claiming. Up there yesterday that his hands are tied. And Republicans are saying well on time so now we're seeing the first indications of that. But he is now putting in 81 call up temporary fix as point seven doesn't doesn't change the underlying policy back to what President Obama had in place. And secondly it's gonna have its own outcry because this idea of indefinite detention with families to Al toll Democrats and other human rights groups are gonna say these are family internment camps that that's essentially what this is disease is a camp where families will be help for an indefinite period of time. Better than being separated perhaps but ideal solution not a close. In one thing we know the president not backing away from is is is kind of views. He used hone. As it relates to you fear in law and order and national security we heard those same themes. On the campaign trio we've heard them. Again today. In and I wonder you know what that does in terms of his messaging and how that appeals to use them. It's back to the basics -- president trump this was the defining issue 2016 president trump might have it as the defining issue of 2018. We heard from his chief strategist Donna on John Burris you've got to just tough telling Jon Karl over the weekend president trop is on the ballot he would like this issue to be on the ballot. Again though he may be virtually alone on that issue you talk to Republicans they wanna talk about tax cuts they want to talk about the economy Ghali to talk about north Korea national security. They don't want to be talking about. Children separated from the parents and many that don't want to talk about the dreamers or other immigration issues either. Yes this motivates the base it also motivates the other side and if you want to talk about getting liberals progressive city being gauge this election if they're not already. Minority groups immigrant groups. Suburban women all of them you can imagine the images of the last couple of days being an absolute nightmare scenario for Republicans. So you know maybe with this phone call he he gets at least the added that the PR of this. At least moving in the right direction. I'm fascinated by the things that happen in Washington waited people kind of pitch. Each other against each other and then ask for help at the at the same time the president today saying the Democrats. Would like an open war that they want people coming in without exception. That millions of people would come in and take over this country. And men just minutes after that. He's asking Democrats for their support to route sixty how do you make sense of that if you're a Democrat and is just is this just. Washington DC is this just the way it works. Well as the new Washington DC I mean that this is not normal behavior for previous presidents and to go out there and meet. A wild accusations about the goals of Democrats to say that the for open borders to say that Nancy Pelosi favors criminals as he sat in the past. The the absolute slams on the the Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. On one level they cannot take it personally and a lot of them don't think they know that the way to cut deals is to focus on what he does and not what he says. On another level though it is it is indeed can be dangerous rhetoric and its harmful rhetoric for for trying to come together. And when the president is talking about wanting to bring Democrats the other keep in mind he's in a room right they are full of Republicans he didn't invite any Democrat. But guess what he's about it on a plane to Minnesota where he's going to campaign for Republicans campaign events are on bipartisan event off. While Rick Klein was there in Washington DC brick have a great day and they will talk a little later right hey you know thanks accurate. An incredible day in Washington DC today suggests a day ago the president saying that they needed the Democrats to end this issue of zero tolerance and families being separated on the border appears. President. In an incredible way was able to solve that today with just a phone call we've been on top of this from. All points of view please stay with us on ABC news live for the app in we will keep you updated. All day long have a good one.

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

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