Trump's conflicting rhetoric on border separations muddles immigration debate

Trump instructed Republican lawmakers to "stop wasting your time" on a legislative fix for immigration until after the midterm elections in November.
3:36 | 06/22/18

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Transcript for Trump's conflicting rhetoric on border separations muddles immigration debate
We'll begin with the mounting pressure on the president and the question about hundreds of children in shelters across the country now. The president wanting to change the headline brought families to Washington whoost loved ones to violent calling their families permanently separated. There remains confusion because so many children are spread out across the country, many too young to know their parents' phone numbers. Jonathan Karl leading us off. Reporter: With mounting confusion about the fate of migrant children separated from their parents, president trump today sought to change the subject surrounding himself with American parents whose children were killed by undocumented criminals. These are the American citizens permanently separated from their loved ones. The world permanently being the word that you have to think about. Permanently. They're not separated a day, two days. Permanently separatebecause they were killed by criminal illegal aliens. Reporter: Multiple studies show undocumented immigrants actually commit crimes at a lower rate than American citizens. The president's comments today come amid growing outrage over the images of migrant children in did he know shunenters on the border and the sounds of their cries. Today, as her husband was preparing to speak, the first lady released a video of her meeting with migrant children at a shelter, tweeting, "It's my sincere hope congress will be able to reach across the aisle and find a solution!" It's been two days since the president signed his order to end the separation of children from their families. But today in California, a lawyer for the trump administration couldn't answer a judge's basic questions about the new policy. Meanwhile, on the president's favorite morning show, this was the message. Like it or not, these aren't our kids. Show them compassion, but it's not like he is doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas. These are people from another country and now people are saying that they're more important than people in our country who are paying taxes and who have needs as well. Reporter: Earlier this week, the president went to capitol hill to urge congress to pass immigration reform and fund his border wall, tweeting, "Now is the best opportunity ever for congress to change the ridiculous and obsolete laws on immigration." The immigration system, it's been a really bad, bad system. Probable the worst anywhere in the world. We're going to try and see if we can fix it. Reporter: But today he reversed course, tweeting, "Republicans should stop wasting their time on immigration until after we elect more senators and congressmen/women in November." S let's get to Jon Karl live at the white house. Jon, you've been talking to your administrative sources. They say there remains real confusion on how to route these families. There sure is, David. Top officials haven't figured out yet how to implement both the president's zero tolerance policy and his order reversing family separation. One senior administration official told me the confusion on this is actually greater than the chaos we saw after the president's first travel ban, the bottom line is they simply haven't figured out how to make this work. Tonight you're about to hear the story of one little girl who

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

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