Trump says Congress must fix immigration, close loopholes

U.S. first lady Melania Trump listens during a roundtable meeting at the Lutheran Social Services of the South

Trump says Congress must fix immigration, close loopholes

Federal agencies were working to set up a centralized reunification process for the remaining separated children and their families at the Port Isabel Detention Center just north of border in Texas, said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Her first visit, according to the White House pool reporters traveling with the first lady, was to Upbring New Hope Children's Shelter and lasted about 75 minutes.

"I didn't want my name attached to that", he said of the bill he decried as an amnesty for immigrants who are in the USA illegally. Video footage of children sitting in cages and an audiotape of wailing children had sparked anger as the images were broadcast worldwide.

"She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart", Stephanie Grisham, a spokeswoman for Mrs. Trump, said earlier this week.

"She wants to see what's real", Grisham told CNN.

"We were never going to be able to promise an outcome but we could promise an effort and a fair process and that is what is being delivered on today", he said.

"Usually, when they get here, they're very distraught in the sense that they don't know where they're at".

First lady Melania Trump arrives at McAllen Miller International Airport in McAllen, Texas, Thursday. "Do U?" - a cryptic message that sent the internet ablaze.

Two measures are before the House of Representatives - a conservative bill and a more moderate "compromise", which the White House and leadership in the Republican-controlled Congress has been urging rank-and-file members to support.

A hardline proposal was defeated, as expected.

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The compromise bill would put Dreamers on a pathway to citizenship, fund the construction of President Donald Trump's long-sought wall on the southwestern border with Mexico and require that immigrant children be kept with their parents pending deportation decisions.

Border patrol agents detain a asylum seekers, including children, near McAllen, Texas. "All they do is obstruct", Trump said about the current crisis at the border. She spoke to many individually through a translator, and as she walked out she told them: "Be kind and nice to each other, OK?"

So far, no Democrats have signed on to the Republican legislation. Trump had said only Congress could fix the problem and he specifically pointed a finger at Democrats.

Trump's executive order would keep families together but in custody indefinitely while parents are prosecuted for entering the country illegally - a move that could lead to new legal battles for the administration. It does not override the Flores consent decree, which means that the children could still likely be separated from their parents after 20 days.

Currently, when parents are taken away for criminal prosecution, their children are given to the Department of Health and Human Services for care and they can spend months in shelters. "The executive order certainly is helping pave the way a little bit, but there's still a lot to be done".

The administration is not ending its "zero tolerance" approach to border prosecutions.

US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and US Attorney General Jeff Sessions trekked to the Capitol to meet privately with groups of Republican lawmakers.

After a downturn a year ago, the flow of migrants from Central America and Mexico has surged since October.

Lawyers filed a memorandum to a settlement in California that governs how children are handled when they are caught crossing the U.S. border illegally.

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