"If you don't have Borders, you don't have a Country!". "What has happened for us to have to craft legislation to say, 'Don't pull kids out of the arms of their mothers, '" he said.
After his remarks, the president raised eyebrows by walking across the stage, arms outstretched, and embracing a United States flag.
But Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer signalled no such support would be coming, saying it was already in Mr Trump's power to keep the families together.
"Democrats are the problem", he tweeted early Tuesday, charging that his opponents "don't care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country". A group of GOP senators, including Sen.
One is a hardline measure favored by conservatives, and is unlikely to pass. "But it's also cruel that parents are separating themselves when they send their children across and try to bypass the system and slip through", he said of the thousands of unaccompanied minors who cross the border without their parents.
But Trump himself put that bill in doubt.
But the president has also suggested using family separation as a negotiating tool, refusing to reverse the policy unless Democrats agree to his other immigration reform priorities, like funding his "big, lovely wall" at the southern border.More news: Blatter arrives in Russia for World Cup despite FIFA ban
The United Nations has slammed the separation practice as unconscionable, while Amnesty International blasted it as "nothing short of torture".
Tuesday's Republican huddle will be closely watched, in part to see whether any lawmakers directly confront the president.
Several House Republicans face tough re-election fights in November, and some may worry that public outrage over the family separations could hurt their chances.
The president has accused Democrats of provoking the crisis by blocking legislation to combat illegal immigration. She also said that children will only be separated in narrow circumstances, including if the adult has broken the law. While perusing my Facebook page last night, I came across a post from a close relative that blatantly said that a law enacted during the Bill Clinton administration is behind the separation of children from their parents today.
As a result, children are taken away from their parents, because they can not be taken to adult jails.
According to Olivares, the agency is generally "very willing to help", often helping to find a child even if there's a misspelling in the group's records.More news: Jammu and Kashmir government falls as BJP quits alliance with PDP
"The separation is not going to go on forever", said Bernal, whose family has been in California since the DeAnza expedition in the 1770s and whose whose wife crossed the Mexican border illegally with her parents as a child.
"We have the worst immigration laws in the entire world".
The Department of Health and Human Services said there are now 11,700 children under its care in 100 shelters across 17 states.
The senator's bill would add more federal immigration judges, authorize new temporary shelters to house migrant families, speed the processing of asylum cases and require that families that cross the border illegally be kept together, absent criminal conduct or threats to the welfare of any children.
But activists seized on the symbolism.
"We will not apologize for the job we do, or for the job law enforcement does for doing the job that the American people expect us to do", she said Monday. "I am all alone'".
Nielsen, who faced questions from reporters about the Trump administration's actions on Monday, repeatedly defended the administration's actions and said the government has high standards for detention centres and the children are well cared for.More news: Trump threatens additional tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods