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Lawmakers, Human Rights Groups React to Trump's Executive Order

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Republican members of Congress on immigration in the Cabinet Room of the White House, June 20, 2018, in Washington.

After considerable international backlash, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending the controversial policy of separating migrant children from their parents who illegally crossed the U.S. border from Mexico.

The executive order signed by Trump called for U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis to "take all legally available measures" to provide housing for the immigrants at existing facilities, or to construct new ones, if necessary.

Reaction to Trump's order was widespread and mixed, with some officials saying the executive order still doesn't fix the problem.

Department of Homeland Security

"The president's action today helps us prevent the separation of Illegal alien families, while encouraging Congress to find a much needed, long-term solution to close loopholes in our immigration system that have resulted in catch and release. In the meantime, the Department of Homeland Security will do what is possible to hold illegal border crossers accountable, while also holding families together, as long as the law allows. The only solution is for Congress to authorize detention and prompt removal for illegal families and minors."


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: "The president's Executive Order seeks to replace one form of child abuse with another. Instead of protecting traumatized children, the president has directed his attorney general to pave the way for the long-term incarceration of families in prisonlike conditions."

Rep. Darin LaHood, (R-Ill.): "This family separation was not a long-term solution to anything. I was happy the president signed his executive order to end this practice."

Sen. Jeff Merkley, (D-Ore.): "Public outcry against separating families & imprisoning children has forced a change, but @realDonaldTrump appears to be replacing his inhumane child-snatching policy with another damaging strategy of handcuffs for all."

Ivanka Trump, Trump's daughter and White House senior adviser: "Thank you @POTUS for taking critical action ending family separation at our border. Congress must now act + find a lasting solution that is consistent with our shared values; the same values that so many come here seeking as they endeavor to create a better life for their families."

Sen.Corey Booker, (D-N.J.): "Incarcerating families and children fleeing violence and oppression is an unacceptable response to the family separation crisis created by President Trump and his administration. The lack of any plan to reunite children with their parents and undo the damage that has been done by President Trump's family separation policy is profoundly concerning to me."

Sen. Marco Rubio, (R-Fla.): "Some Democrats now even using the disingenuous "indefinite detention" term. They know full well that those who unlawfully enter the U.S. are not held indefinitely. They are entitled to a due process hearing & our new bill hires more judges to speed up that process."

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, (D-Mass.): "This isn't over. Thousands of kids have been ripped apart from their parents with no plan to reunite them. And now @realdonaldtrump wants to create new detention camps for families. Separating kids is unacceptable — but indefinite imprisonment of families is still cruel & inhumane."

Newt Gingrich, former GOP speaker of the House of Representatives: "I think the country will be satisfied that (Trump) responded to the problem. He signed an executive order to make sure children are not separated from their parents."

Human rights groups

International Rescue Committee: "The Executive Order signed today is not a solution for families seeking much-needed asylum and does nothing to reunite the thousands of children who have already been separated from their parents at the border. The administration is replacing one form of cruelty with another."

Kids in Need of Defense: "President Trump's Executive Order would allow the United States to hold immigrant children in jail-like conditions for an indefinite period of time and is a complete nonstarter. We cannot be a nation that put immigrant children in jail and throws away the key."

Religious groups

Catholic League Immigration Network: "The administration deserves no credit for heeding the enormous public outcry about this barbaric practice. This was a crisis of their own creation, a thinly veiled and spectacularly failed political stunt that deserved every ounce of criticism it received from the public, politicians, religious leaders and corporations."

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service: "While children will no longer be ripped from the arms of their parents for the sole purpose of deterring immigration, they will go to jail with their parents. Jail is never an appropriate place for a child."