Asked about the possibility of an executive order on immigration, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters: "We'll keep you posted". An earlier report from Fox News Channel said the Trump administration was considering an executive order that would allow immigrant families who cross the border illegally to stay together longer than is now permitted.
Numerous well-documented accounts of young immigrant children being separated from their alien parents at border locations are flooding television screens and newspaper columns across the country.
It followed Paul Ryan's announcement that the House of Representatives would vote on a bill which would keep families arriving at the Mexican border together.
Trump's climbdown came after he faced intense pressure from across the political spectrum and from religious, political and world leaders to halt the separations, which produced days of heartrending news coverage of crying children - some of whom were kept in cage-like detention centers. Instead, they are being taken from their parents, who are then detained or deported without their children. If our Republican colleagues, and the Republican leadership in particular, want to solve this problem, they ought to be directing their attention to the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House because that's where it can get done, done well, and done quickly, he said.
Previous administrations have responded to similar situations at the U.S. -Mexico border, but none have resorted to the separation of families as a device to deter migration from Central America.
Homeland Security officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The House of Representatives was to vote on Thursday on two bills created to halt the practice of separating families and to address other immigration issues.
In May, the Department of Justice adopted the zero-tolerance policy in which anyone caught entering the US illegally is criminally prosecuted. "Republicans want security. But I am working on something - it never ends!" The administration has been clear about its intention: to use family separation to deter migration.
The administration must end this gratuitous, cruel, and counterproductive policy that has brought such pain to innocent children and so much shame on this nation, Schumer said, adding that no law requires the separation of children from their families.
Attorneys and advocates say that some children whose parents seek asylum are in fact being separated at ports of entry and that they're hard to track down. Ryan has stated he does not support separation of families. "We are keeping the family together".
The "zero tolerance" policy put into place last month moves adults to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and sends many children to facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services. The government says that only happens when immigrants can not prove family relationship or when there is evidence children have been abused. "But because of a 1997 order and related decisions, children can not be detained for longer than 20 days with the adults", writes Fox News.