By Maggie Haberman and Michael D. Shear
President Trump is preparing to issue an executive order as soon as Wednesday that ends the separation of families at the border by indefinitely detaining parents and children together, flouting a court settlement that prohibits that move, according to a person familiar with the White House plans.
"I'll be signing something in a little while," Trump told reporters, although he did not say what exactly he would sign. "Something that's somewhat preemptive and ultimately will be matched by legislation, I'm sure."
Stories of children being taken from their parents and images of teenagers in cage-like detention facilities have exploded into a full-blown political crisis for Trump and Republican lawmakers, who are desperate for a response to critics who have called the practice “inhumane” and “evil.”
Trump has for weeks refused to simply end his government’s “zero tolerance” policy that led to the separation of more than 2,300 children from their parents, saying that the alternative would be to fling open the nation’s borders and allow immigrants who cross the border illegally to remain in the country.
The crisis has consumed his administration for days as Republicans and Democrats react to searing pictures and audio of young migrant children crying after being separated from their parents after crossing the border from Mexico, many to seek asylum from violence in their home countries.
The administration says more than 2,300 children taken from their parents, who are detained for criminal prosecution, have been held in separate detention facilities. The separations climbed rapidly after the administration began its "zero tolerance" policy in May, requiring more criminal prosecutions rather than civil deportation actions.
But the president, furious about the pummeling he has taken in recent days, has been casting about for an escape from the crisis, people familiar with his thinking said. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security are preparing the executive order that is designed to end the family separations.
This story includes reporting from The Los Angeles Times.