President Donald Trump said he would rather be strong on U.S. immigration enforcement than weak, in a roundtable with lawmakers Tuesday afternoon.
“If you are weak, which some people would like to you be. If you are really really pathetically weak, the country is going to be overrun with millions of people if you are strong, then you don’t have any heart. That’s a tough dilemma. Perhaps I would rather be strong but that’s a tough dilemma,” Trump said.
Trump’s comment comes as his administration is enforcing a zero tolerance policy at the U.S.-Mexico border toward illegal immigrants. Criminal prosecution of illegals who come with their families results in their separation, which has caused outcry from the national media and the Democratic Party.
Trump also said during the roundtable that he will be signing a temporary executive order to end family separation and allow for detention of whole family units while they await prosecution. The executive action would require federal authorities to detain families together while being prosecuted rather than operating under current guidelines which require separation.
The executive action, however, is likely to face immediate lawsuit given its violation of current U.S. guidance which requires children to be housed separately from adult incarceration facilities.
The executive action consideration comes just one day before the House of Representatives will vote on two immigration bills which include the administration’s broader immigration priorities. These bills also would end the practice of family separation.