President Trump on Friday blasted what he described as a media double standard on immigration, as he honored families whose loved ones were killed by illegal immigrants and accused the press of ignoring them to focus on the plight of migrants caught crossing the border.
Trump often brought members of "angel families" to events with him during his presidential campaign, and he continued to showcase them at Friday's event to spur action on his signature campaign promise to crack down on illegal immigration.
Following intense domestic and global condemnation, Trump on Wednesday signed an order ending his administration's practice of separation of children from their families while parents were being prosecuted for crossing the border illegally.
On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order meant to halt the separation of parents and children by detaining families together.
How numerous approximately 500 children were still detained with their families wasn't clear, and federal agencies were seeking a centralized process to reunite the remaining families, according to the AP.
Trump himself took a hard line on the crisis, accusing the Democrats of telling "phony stories of sadness and grief". "Her mother picked her up and the two were taken away together", the magazine said. The woman is being held in Washington state and has decided she doesn't want to pursue asylum so that she can be deported and reunited with her daughter, he said.
But Trump and some of the grieving family members he appeared with on Friday attempted to cast perspective on the border separations by discussing their own tragedies.
The federal public defender's office for the region that covers El Paso to San Antonio said in an email that prosecutors will no longer charge parents with illegally entering the USA if they have children with them.
The president said, however, the message was directed at news organizations, which he dubbed the "Fake News Media".
Indefinite detentions run afoul of the so-called Flores settlement, a 1997 agreement that has been interpreted by courts as meaning children can not be detained for more than 20 days.
Meanwhile, a 7-year-old boy and his mother, separated a month ago, were reunited Friday after she sued in federal court and the Justice Department agreed to release the child.
But the comment echoes those of many of his supporters at his MAGA rally in Minnesota on Wednesday, who told reporters they believed the images and audio had been faked to make Trump look bad. "You hear the other side, you never hear this side, you don't know what's going on", Trump said.
"Elect more Republicans in November and we will pass the finest, fairest and most comprehensive Immigration Bills anywhere in the world", Trump said on Twitter. But stubborn differences between conservative and more moderate Republicans in the House have stalled immigration legislation on Capitol Hill, with a vote on a compromise measure delayed until next week.
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