Political News

How the Trump administration's story on family separations changed

Posted June 20, 2018 1:14 p.m. EDT

— An end to family separations at the US border may be in sight after President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he will take action to keep parents and children together.

The development, however, contradicts repeated assertions from top administration officials that only Congress could act to end the separations.

Here's how Trump and other administration officials said earlier on family separations before Trump announced the upcoming executive order.

Donald Trump

"What I'm asking Congress to do is to give us a third option, which we have been requesting since last year, the legal authority to detain and promptly remove families together as a unit. We have to be able to do this. This is the only solution to the border crisis," Trump said during a speech on Tuesday,

Before that, Trump said in the same speech, "Under current law, we have only two policy options to respond to this massive crisis. We can either release all illegal immigrant families and minors who show up at the border from Central America or we can arrest the adults for the federal crime of illegal entry. Those are the only two options, totally open borders or criminal prosecution for law-breaking."

Kirstjen Nielsen

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday during a White House press briefing, "We need Congress to fully fund our ability to hold families together through the immigration process."

Nielsen added, "Until these loopholes are closed by Congress, it is not possible, as a matter of law, to detain and remove whole family units who arrive illegally in the United States. Congress and the courts created this problem, and Congress alone can fix it."