“It’s about keeping families together,” Mr Trump said at the signing ceremony on Wednesday. Vice-President Mike Pence and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who has emerged as the face of the White House policy, were both present for Wednesday’s order signing. The order does not address families already separated by the policy until now. US immigration officials say 2,342 children were separated from 2,206 parents between 5 May and 9 June. According to the new order immigrant families will be detained together while their legal cases are considered and immigration cases involving families will be expedited.
Trump signing the executive order
Trump’s executive order would keep most families together under the Department of Homeland Security, except in cases where an adult may pose a threat to a child. The order is virtually certain to encounter legal challenges. Some advocates will likely argue that children staying in detention centers violates the 1997 decision known as the Flores agreement. Republican congressional leader Paul Ryan said the House of Representatives will vote on Thursday “on legislation to keep families together”. Wednesday’s move was the most significant policy reversal by Trump since he took office in January 2017. Governments from Central America and Mexico welcomed Trump’s decision on Wednesday.