Officials have said they were working to reunite families as soon as possible but provided no clear answers on how that was going to happen. Five days later, he did just that.
US President Donald J Trump on Wednesday said he will use his existing executive authority to address family separation of illegal alien border-crossers. "I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated".
Trump's order is already facing stiff resistance from lawmakers and may face an uphill court battle.
Cincinnati resident Andrew Pappas supported President Donald Trump's decision to separate children from parents who crossed the border illegally because, he said, it got Congress talking about immigration reform.
Normally, White House Press Secretary Sanders has that responsibility.
"For the minors now in the unaccompanied alien children program, the sponsorship process will proceed as usual", HHS spokesman Kenneth Wolfe said Wednesday.
To keep alien families together, the EO contains a provision requiring the Attorney General to file a request with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to modify the Settlement Agreement in Flores v. Sessions, so that alien families can be detained together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings.
Aside from Congressional Democrats, the Trump administration was facing major opposition from Republican lawmakers over its immigration policy.
"It is still very early and we are awaiting further guidance on the matter", Brian Marriott said.
Sessions, who announced and defended the "zero-tolerance" policy over the course of the past month, is already Trump's most hated Cabinet official for his recusal from the Russian Federation investigation.
Trump insisted to aides he take some type of formal action, despite the fact the separations could be ended without one, saying it was necessary he be seen as taking a decisive step rather than quietly reversing his own "zero-tolerance" policy that led to the crisis.
It states that it is the policy of the administration "to maintain family unity", a new position from an administration that previously defended the separation of families and said those affected put themselves in that position by crossing the border illegally.
Doctors and lawyers who have visited the shelters in South Texas' Rio Grande Valley said the facilities were fine, clean and safe but the children - who have no idea where their parents are - were hysterical, crying and acting out.
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They will now be detained in the same holding cells as their parents, but for how long remains uncertain. House Speaker Paul Ryan has known where the bill was headed.
"So we're going to have strong - very strong borders, but we're going to keep the families together".
Trump said that even with the change, border enforcement will be "equally tough, if not tougher".
Griffin, a pediatrician who has been caring for children detained on the border between Texas and the Mexican state of Chihuahua for ten years, told AFP the desperation of separated children. That's a whole different story.
He wrote on Facebook that it posed serious questions about what kind of country the United States considered itself to be.
But it is not yet certain that he manages to rally all his troops around a text that should also include other aspects of immigration clinging hard and moderate wings (status of "Dreamers", net reduction of legal immigration).
Democrats found fault in the new order.
President Donald Trump said North Korea had returned on Wednesday (June 20) the remains of 200 USA troops missing from the Korean War, although there was no official confirmation of the move from military authorities. The order also did not provide any date or timeline on when it would be implemented and does not address how the more than 2,000 children already stripped from their families would be reunited.
Some Democrats, including potential presidential candidates for 2020, have recently traveled to the border to inspect detention centers and speak with immigrants, as well as journalists, or have made plans for such trips.
"I don't want children taken away from parents".
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday went to a center in Manhattan that is caring for 239 migrant children separated from their parents. He accused federal authorities of concealing the placement of the children in NY.
"How do you think the leverage is playing for us right now?" asked one official sarcastically. The AP report also cited an adult who saw bruises and broken bones the children said were caused by guards.
She and her husband also got criticized by some in the West Wing for being absent during hard moments; they were off on a ski vacation when the GOP's health care plan collapsed past year.