Trump signs executive order to end policy of separating children from parents

President Donald Trump signed the order after defending his zero-tolerance policy despite condemnation from GOP lawmakers.
15:35 | 06/20/18

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Transcript for Trump signs executive order to end policy of separating children from parents
Hi there are welcome to ABC news live on ABC news political director reclined you just watch the special report on the ABC news broadcast network with president trump signing an executive order that he says. Well and the separation of family policy that had been in place under his administration. He says that this will solve the problem wearing it all into that with Mary Alice parks here. Our deputy political director and also Marcus Moore down on the border but I believe we have Cecilia Vega joining us and not. Not Cecilia just that has moments let's talk about this real quick the president says that he that this will solve the problem we actually don't know that and if it is a problem that solved. He sell the public he created I think those are important points to make even as we just hear what he claimed. Right solving a problem seems weird the president taped he caved to political pressure. And reversed course on an issue and policy that he put in place that violently to talk about it. This is a problem and a policy that he created. And there's a lot of talk about whether he needed to sign anything at all. He didn't need an executive order to reverse course probably could have picked up the phone call and pulled his own attorney general to stop falling through the policy that the equitably. And and we should note if the the this is a reversal it is. Arguably the biggest reversal of this time in office is the president doesn't back down just yesterday he was claiming that he did not. Have the authority to got a power to do this that only congress could do with the attorney general. But the secretary of all the security all the making the case that this is not something they can do at times even disputing whether this was the policy. Now he is was the scene that he is reversed that policy. Again claiming a power that he didn't have this yesterday let's check in with Marcus Moore who was down and Raymond bill Texas as you just heard a few moments ago he is outside one of these facilities we just learned about a tender aged facility it's being called. The youngest of the children were detained. And Marcus I know this is quite as seen airing in rural and very hot. Texas. I just want it get off the news for a second we had any sense of what happens to the people. Behind people in that facility that we're not seen as a result of this is there any sense of resolution for them. No bed then that is the big question now how Long Will they be here and what their parents be brought to this facility two to be reunited with them and then they go to the rest of the process from their goals of questions that week. Still don't have answers to this afternoon. After that breaking news a announcement but. This is one of the facilities that has been housing the youngest be the most vulnerable to to underage children who been separated from their families. We are in Raymond build Texas which is in the southwestern part of the state. A near McAllen and day in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas so you can see this. Facilities on the other side of this green fence and you concede that soccer field there with the goals and then there's a picnic table area with the canopy. And the main part of the facility is off in the distance there. This place is very remote. I wasn't talking to David earlier showing him I want to show you as well. Of this area that we're talking about you can look at all the cropland Barrick Gold bond. We're quite a distance there you see this all around this facility so it gives you a sense of how remote this as. And aware. These these children are are being kept right now this is one of three such facilities here in this part of the state. And is certainly playing a key role as this zero tolerance policy has affected. A number of families that have authorities say crossed into the country illegally acting. And you mentioned zero tolerance policy stays in effect LaMarcus of before we let you go have we gotten any glimpse inside whatsoever I view the administration has been very. Close down in terms of providing any access do we know anything about what is going on each side walls are you see any kids yourself. I have not seen that that's the children myself that's been raining. Only about half an hour ago that it stopped raining here so. We were hoping that perhaps we might be able to see some of the kids who might be out you know in the plank soccer just being kids. Which is something we saw at the tent city that was. Set up in tore Neil what is. Hundreds of miles to the loss in the El Paso area we have not seen. When it looks like in there we know that some congress. Congressman and congresswoman a lawmakers. I did tore some of these facilities and they described what they thought would would disturbing. Scenes. Because the children they say some of them were or emotional and we've heard reports that. That that children were not being consoled him and that's been at the heart of this issue and the reason why. The voices have been so loud about why they want to reverse this this family separations. The director of the American academy of pediatrics saying that this does. Child abuse salt. That some of what we've heard about what people have seen when they've gone into these facilities. Com and when we've also heard that and have seen I went into a facility in in McAllen over the weekends one of the processing facilities. Where the families had been broken up yet they ran holding cells behind chain link fence and so it it would it would seem that the conditions. And the accommodations vary depending on on where where U lost. ABC's markers more thank you for joining us down at Raymond bill Texas these facilities were just learning about. And a lot of questions like Marcus went out what happens these kids now who have been separated from their families. And going forward if families aren't separate how Long Will children be held in detention centers along side. Their parents if their president and administration continues at bats Europe -- zero tolerance policy so there criminally prosecuting anyone that's apprehended at the border. I think also bigger picture questions tale. How many asylum seekers are we landing and how should that number change is an appropriate. Aren't what are the guidelines and has that changed under this administration there's now just a much larger conversation I think we'll need to continue to take place in DC and around the country. Our White House producer Jordan Phelps joining us now from from just outside the White House the president on his way to a campaign event now in Minnesota will be appearing tonight politics not on hold even though he's canceled the congressional picnic bipartisan picnic for tomorrow. But we Jordan do we have any answers yet from the White House but what this is going to mean in practice. The president said this will solve the problem do we know what what is going to happen the next time. One and one of these families shows up and maybe just as critically now what happens all the kids that are now in these facilities. Contours of how this executive order dies right. Presumably it I'm does a lot of what this White House it unilaterally put into place again. This was a policy that didn't exist before and was put into place by this administration. I sell it it's easy to I'm deal but the president was there in the Oval Office saying that this is not the end as earth hour and that that it's going to move forward. But so it's the imagery here of these families these children at being torn apart from their families was simply too damning for this White House. I and the president really lost out on a political fight here. I we now he was also getting a lot of pressure internally from his family. We now that adversely has personally lobby. The president on his first day had multiple private conversations with him on we know pocket front has also know. I had been lobbying him on it according to source says. I said the president at you know was getting pressure from all ends at this actor from his family from Democrats from his own party. And he had to K but what this means going forward now that he signed this executive order. I that remains to be seen. All right thank you Jordan Valley road and joining us on Capitol Hill because the president. Really was isolated on NC he's his own party had abandoned him. How he had Mitch McConnell say yesterday that all the Republicans the senate one of his policies and you have a a large number of Republican senator saying. And the policy now and then let us get to work. What what's your sense on Capitol Hill and does this do anything to change the political calculus of the votes that we might be expecting as soon as tomorrow. Well actually wreck I'm wondering if this doesn't make it harder for congress to accomplish anything now that the president. Has removed the immediate threat of seeing these kids being separated from their parents at the border. Other we don't know the details about how that's going to be implemented or wet. But congress is we've seen in recent years they love a cliff. They love a deadline they they only really act when their backs are up against a well. And now that that immediate threat has gone I don't know if it's going to make it harder or easier Democrats have wanted to put the emphasis on. Allowing families to go into the United States and await there court proceedings while. Freely moving about the country Republicans however have wanted to focus on law enforcement they want to increase the number of judges. That are available to adjudicate these cases. And they want to be able to detain these families together so when you get past the surface issue. Nobody wants to see these families separated need to buy eggs are huge and I just came from a meeting that's taking place now in Susan collins' office the great negotiator he was a big player in. A lot of other legislative issues including health care. She's convening folks from both sides and they're trying to work out a compromise in the senate but Rick as you mentioned in the house there on a totally different labeling. They're debating two bills that they're wasting votes on as early as tomorrow the president has suggested he'd be fine if either one of them passed so. At of the day we have several Lee just legislative proposals going powered. All of which address not just the issue keeping families together so I think this issue it just become more entrant. Entrenched and runs the risk of getting bogged down in our. And we should know that you're looking at the live picture there Air Force One taxiing on its way out to Duluth Minnesota the president going to be campaigning in Minnesota placed Republicans are hoping to. Go on offense a little bit this fall obviously Peters message in light of all of us. And we have audio from his meeting yesterday on Capitol Hill you have to wonder whether or not the Republicans pushing back. On the president on this issue might have been a factor in all of this at some point did they say this is a political liability for us we cannot go home and campaign. And face people that Hartfield so outraged over this issue. And Alley before before we let you go I I imagine it capital also don't want a lot of answers about this have you. If you heard anything in the immediate aftermath about what the concerns are about what this policy will mean in practice whether this is going to mean. That the legislation that's being pushed is stalled for never forgot the house bill for a second there's a lot of efforts in the senate. Just two would address this issue of detentions Ted Cruz has more conservative version the Democrats have their own version is that all kind of in a holding pattern now as well. It absolutely and I think they're asking the same questions we are. As a matter of fact direct attorney general Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security secretary. It Christian Yeltsin are up here right now. They're briefing members of congress but I think the contours. This executive order coming together so quickly I'm not sure they're going to have all of the answers but certainly. Democrats are going to be asking. What are the what's the fine print in terms of how these families are going to be detained and for how long. Republicans are going to be asking those questions about do we have additional resources. Does this executive order addressed the need for more. More courts to adjudicate these issues I think those are all open questions that members of congress are going to be demanding answers you in very short order. Right now it Rogen thank you and a lot of fast moving developments today we want to bring in our colleague Kara Phillips. Right now join us here at the at the table because others slow Newsday another slow news day and of the week a copy of beat the Carolina are accurate data either to give you another big headlights it actually are saying yes of Michael Cohen. The president's a longtime personal attorney we have heard all about the legal scrutiny that he is under in the southern district of New York he has for all of this time actually be in. On the RNC. Finance committee right out the longer what they today. Well he resigned but here's the headline in that letter which we get a chance to review. Michael Cohen for the first time is basically dissing the president he is criticizing the president the direct quote. They came from the letter this is a resonating resignation letter to the currency will talk more about that in a minute. But here is what he said with regard it trumps policy about separating migrant children. He actually said as the son of a polish holocaust survivor at the images and sounds of this Stanley separation policy is heart wrenching Michael Klein writes this. While I strongly support measures that we'll secure our porous borders children should never be used. As bargaining chips. Whoa whoa he has never you know come forward and and criticized the president I mean how many times have we played those soundbites. Over and over and over again weary says I'm obviously very loyal and very dedicated to mr. trump and and we do the next flash to I will do anything to protect mr. trump. And he is always been a fierce loyalist. To congress we saucer an appeal from the campaign come out. And defend president even on this in the last few weeks it was really people from the campaign network his biggest advocate the president advocates on this policy. He did and breaking it but whether or colleagues. We'll go ahead I want to put this in context right ABC news has reported previously it if you eat the possibilities let's while operating with investigators right. Do you read this as a message to the White House that he's broken once he could break again well that's. We remember the impromptu press conference that happened last Friday happen to be doing and think they're doing and I thought. Yeah. And it was an impromptu. Press conference slash chaotic strong slash let me see what the president is saying oh my gosh she's stopping and talking for 25 minutes I mean it was crazy there it was on president he'd never done that before but I took. An opportunity to ask him the area was asked that North Korea of course we want to know more about that. And and Robert Mueller it's sadder I wanted to specific about Michael Collins and and I and that was the week I'd lose track of days in time but that was the week that we talked about that we learned. The Michael Cohen may cooperate with Larry yeah exactly changes lawyer cooperate with with prosecute yes does that mean will he flat so. I asked the president are you concerned about Michael calling cooperating. With investigators and and he said no I've done nothing wrong do you think people look my new I've done nothing wrong no I don't think you'll flip on me. Well now this changes the whole conversation once again the fact that he is criticizing the president which he has ever done. On resigning from his position is post at the RNC. You're starting to wonder in in the line and using is this is the foundation reflect what is he going to do and then hiring the new attorney. I patrol. Who used to head to the eggs act unit. That is prosecuting Colin right now I mean you couldn't get a better lawyer to try and figure out what the heck is going on when you're trying to get answers. So it just gets better and better it's it's a very enters a passing play that ties to that this dominant news that we Tino weaken against it and to wrap things up. President has signed an executive order that he says will solve the problem a lot of the tells still to be worked out about what this means because that zero tolerance policy. Actually the one place you repulsed Mary Alice parks and thanks also. Two Alley wrote in Jordan belts and Marcus Moore that does it from here on ABC's political director reclined in what does all day long and Thanks for joining us theories plot.

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

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