Trump signs executive order ending family separation policy at US-Mexico border

"It's about keeping families together," Trump said.
14:44 | 06/20/18

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Transcript for Trump signs executive order ending family separation policy at US-Mexico border
This is an ABC news. Now report. To you good news. Good afternoon to become money here because president troubled moments ago signed an executive order this will affect the separation of parents from their children at the border let's take a listen to what the president said. Moments ago. We're signing an executive order. I consider to be reported executive look it's about keeping families together. While at the same time. She assured that we had a very powerful or strong border and border security will be. Equal if not greater than previously. So we can have strong very strong quarters we're going to keep the families together. I didn't like. The site and feeling they everything separated. The problem it's time for many years as you know many administrations. And we're working very hard and immigration didn't. His left out in the call. Eyewitness and we. Two step process just like. We don't want luckily I was dealt with the ran we've dealt with an economy that was heading in the wrong direction we dealt with a lot of different problems. And this is one that has been done for many decades. So we're keeping families together and this was solved that problem. At the same time we are. Keeping it very powerful water and it continues to be. 80 tolerance we have zero tolerance of people enter our country illegally. With that I'd ask my pants vice president. Didn't like the sole. Act of president. Think what Chris has been clears we believe it's a false choice between whether we're a country of law and order country for the and it felt good to demonstrate passion and heart of the American people. For them by taking this action. Doesn't make it possible for us to continue. To engage. And forcing a lot of individuals who violate our laws that were completely but now vehicle and that prosecute. In the immediate Phase Forward due to keep families together to form but we are calling on hopper's. Change mr. Garland and draw up. Range of areas that will secure our borders and give us strength and confidence that we are once again. Going to take steps necessary. Illegal immigration. Think the word compassion comes Buddhist girl. Equally as tough if not tougher. Sentences. If. Forward and expect the house after. I don't we how often can they top the block from each day you call him president after president and don't of the decade is and is willing to CNN. Yet congress to do their thing he's if you. You know. Two years. Sixteen years nobody taken nobody's head. The political courage to do what we're going to take but we going to run the gauntlet prolonged. God out of order kisses. What we do to keep this together this is a problem if you look at. Some of those horrible shootings. A few years ago to meet you are pleased they were hysterical and that was through the Obama administration. Other administrations about the same thing we're keeping the favorite again and so this is and also that may be some litigation we're also wanted to go through congress. We will be going to this were working to eliminate much more comprehensive bill. A lot of good things are happening board of immigration and proper immigration but we have to have strong quarter. And ultimately ruinous if done right and it will be done right but what we have done today is we are keeping families together. These borders or justice top justices strong that you committed through ports of entry if they want that's a whole different story. That's coming into a process and the process is what war. I want to thank you over much of it. Oh yeah. Will get the world. We'll get the world and yet. The Malacca feel very strongly my wife delivers strongly about it. Anybody with a car we feel very strongly about it we don't like she can only separated at the same time. We don't want people coming to a particularly from this takes Deborah thank you. The president in the Oval Office the vice president his secretary of Homeland Security bowl by his side. He said he has signed an executive order we just watched him do with that would keep families together while the same time continue to have strong borders. The president saying moments ago I did not like the site talking about the images the country and now the world. Have seen in these last few days of children being held in what appeared to be cages and in those tents that have now. Come up along the border there in Texas and as well as other places. He said he didn't like the site it's a problem that's gone on for many years but that particular problem of separating children from their families obviously is something new. And something that came with his zero tolerance policy. Imposed under his attorney general Jeff Sessions he said we are now dealing with a just like we dealt with North Korea among other. Issues that he listed there he said we're going to keep families together that we will solve this problem the we will continue to have zero tolerance. And he said Cecilia Vega our senior White House correspondent that I think the word compassion. Comes to mind that's the word the president used though this is gone on for days now. We've many people in this country imploring the president and lawmakers on Capitol Hill in both parties to do something about this. And so many people even members of the president's own party say that this policies risen represented the exact opposite of compassion. Cruel evil un American not our country are some of the words that have been used to describe this policy. Make no mistake about it the president has said that the ball was in the Democrats court. His own allies said it was as simple. As what he did today for days they have been hammering this president this administration over an over and over again. To put a stop to his policy it's his policy it's not democrats' policy. To pick up the phone in south. Lindsey Graham said it himself and president truck for days has maintained that he could not do this by executive order that this was not his actions to stop today. He proved himself wrong he was backed into a corner he couldn't get out of this one. The political crisis has in gulf. This White House perhaps larger than one I've seen in it'll it'll long time covering this administration. He said anybody with heart would have done this but. As you just said David Republicans unanimous in the senate said that they were posted this this was not just Democrats this is not just protesters. Following his Homeland Security director to dinner last night at a Mexican restaurant chanting her. I in protest out of that restaurant this is not just the families. Of these children this was not just immigrant rights advocate David this was Republicans here on Capitol Hill who were also unanimous in their opposition to this policy by the White House. It's is still ahead in front of me to transcript from the president just last Friday you spoke of this he was out. In front of the White House addressing reporters there the driveway right behind where you do your live reports every night. The president was asked do you agree with children being taken away in one of the things he said in response. Was that we can't do this through executive order we can't address this issue. Through executive order that that's what he adjusted moments ago signing an executive order many have said all along that all this would take. Was a simple phone call to his attorney general to stop this. A phone call in a signature that's essentially what he did today his Homeland Security. Secretary came down to the White House they hammered out these details in an executive order he signed it now. I think there are number of people here who are. Bracing some for some potential lawsuits you know at the president said. This does not end zero tolerance this does not mean. These children and their parents will not be in custody if they attempt to cross the border illegally or for perhaps for that matter those children who are in custody now this is a big question going forward. What happens to these kids who were still in detention. How will the US government reunite them with their families some of home we have church have hurt the sense been deported this is going to be a very complicated process going forward. But as we understand it this executive order that just moments ago president trump just sign this will allow. These parents and their children to stay together while they are detained as these cases are processed. For more than twenty days a policy that did not exist before children were forbidden for B from being held for longer than twenty days. But he said that he couldn't cite an executive order and we signed do just that today David. Cecilia Vega there at the White House a serious stick with us here as we've just reported the president signing an executive order. Moments ago he said will prevent now parents are being separated from their children those parents even as they're. Good for proceedings after entering the country illegally they will no longer be separated saying the word that comes to mind. His mind is compassion. This comes after many days now the country in the world now watching these images of children being separated from their parents I do want to bring in Marcus Moore. He's reporting in live from Ramon bill Texas and Marcus we also know this comes just hours after. Media outlets including our own began reporting. About the children who are being taken care of it in fees tender care facilities these places for the particularly vulnerable the baby's. That have now been separated from their parents. Ever that's right David we have wondered all along where those children were and we are getting our first look at one of those facilities here in Raymond bill this is one. Of three facilities here in the Rio Grande Valley area of Texas the southwestern part of the state along the US Mexico border you can just just see here. Of this is a remote facility and its. Behind a green fence there and you see a soccer field with the soccer goals there's a canopy there without a park bench and that palm tree. And then the main facility itself difficult to see but you can just see the the top of it there. This building there the staples along the top this is where this facility is located in a want to show you. How remote it is that David look there's crop land are all sides of this building. And there's only egg rule lonely road at all you hear when you come out here as the frogs making noise and also birds chirping and the occasional vehicle who passed by. But David this is what many people have wondered what type of facilities children are in and as you have mentioned. How this afternoon the most vulnerable the youngest are inside this building. Being cared for toward Marcus Moore thanks to you and of course one of the main questions we were reporting out as the afternoon progresses here is now that the children won't be separated from their parents will be all be held together in those facilities in those tents. Into shelters and for how long those are all important questions that we just don't have answered. At this point I do initially would tweet just moments ago from eve bomb could trump. The president's daughter saying thank you code is for taking critical action pending family separation outer border. Congress must now act and find a lasting solution that is consistent with their share values the same values. That so many come here seeking as they endeavor to create a better life. For their family it's been reported that Maloney a trump also has felt very strongly about this issue though. Members of the trump family have taken heat criticism for not having impact of the president much earlier on this. Since days have gone by as we've watched this zero tolerance policy play out. On television screens and Sicilian want to bring you back and on this because every living former First Lady. Michelle Obama Laura Bush Hillary Clinton Rosalynn Carter have all come out and condemn this it was something that. Hillary Clinton talked about on the campaign and one of those final debates predicting that this could indeed happen. That these pictures we would see would play out in we have seen them this last week or so now you've heard from the pocket trump. And from the First Lady but it doesn't come without criticism. It does not come without criticism and going back to those first ladies on that day when all of them came out first lease from whom. We have not heard out weigh in on policy in years decades perhaps from Laura Bush Rosalynn Carter and and when Gilani at trump weighed in that day's think she doesn't. Like to CDs children separated from their parents either. You know she was hammered on line for that David people called her complicit. As they are doing the same revolving trump right now the president in that Oval Office. That we just saw him speaking few minutes ago said that his wife. Talk to him about this we are told from sources here that there were multiple conversations between. The president and the First Lady that she urged him to put an end of this policy. I am told by sources that president yesterday when he was on Capitol Hill talking to Republicans about this issue of immigration. He told them that Ibaka trump had shown him some images and that she had expressed. A significant concern about the images that she was seeing. I am sensing a split in terms of public relations happening up from sources here inside this White House that there is the evolve the truck camp there at the you know trying to talk the president out of this policy that he was so intent on. Pitted against these Stephen Miller's of the world the immigration hardliners who came into this White House wanting to see policies. Exactly like this but make no mistake about this statement this was eight. Racist I public relations crisis for this White House they were backed into a corner there was no way out of. Yes again the president just a short time ago signing an executive order that he says will end the separation of these families. These parents from their children it will keep families together the president said. While still having very strong borders as I mentioned a lot of questions still to be answered on this how Long Will they keep those families together. In those detention centers among those main questions our entire team on this. We'll have much more throughout the afternoon at abcnews.com. And a complete report tonight on world news tonight mark thanks to Marcus and Sicilian and we'll see for wolves today. This has been a special. For me he's.

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

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