Shortly before she spoke, a VOA reporter at an immigration court hearing in Brownsville, Texas said prosecutors dropped misdemeanor charges against 17 migrants.
"Pursuant to these court decisions, minors detained as part of a family unit can not be detained in unlicensed facilities for longer than a presumptively reasonable period of 20 days, at which point, minors must be released or transferred to a licensed facility", according to a "Myth vs. Fact" statement provided by Homeland Security.
"We still have to maintain toughness, or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don't stand for and we don't want", he said. "Reunification is always the ultimate goal of those entrusted with the care of [unaccompanied children], and the administration is working towards that for those [unaccompanied children] now in HHS custody".
With this latest reversal, the Border Patrol is essentially going back to the policies that were being followed toward the end of the Obama administration, in which families that crossed the border were released from custody and were outfitted with Global Positioning System trackers until the date of their immigration hearings, where they would be either allowed to stay in the country or ordered to leave.
"We have to have a very strong border", Trump said.More news: Eriksen stunner canceled out as Denmark held by Australia
Videos of youngsters in cages and an audiotape of wailing children have sparked anger in the United States from groups ranging from clergy to influential business leaders, as well as condemnation from overseas, including Pope Francis.
Hours before US lawmakers vote on immigration, President Donald Trump has suggested that any measure the lower house passes would be doomed in the US Senate anyway. Trump told House Republicans on Tuesday night he would support either of the immigration bills under consideration but did not give a preference.
The most urgent question is what will happen to thousands of children already separated from their parents under the administration's "zero tolerance" border enforcement strategy. Even the First Lady, Melania Trump, has said she "hates" to see families separated. Trump has instructed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ask a federal court to overturn the settlement.
But a 1997 landmark settlement known as the Flores agreement that generally bars the government from keeping children in immigration detention for more than 20 days remains in place. The judge previously rejected an Obama administration request to modify the consent decree in light of a surge of immigrants from Central America.More news: Phil Mickelson Admits He's "Embarrassed" After US Open Meltdown
"This executive order would replace one crisis for another". The actions left parents with little or no information about where their children were being taken or when or how they would be reunited.
With their parents in federal jail, children are sent to detention centres.
The House of Representatives planned to vote on Thursday on two bills created to halt the practice of separating families and to address other immigration issues.
Mr. Trump also announced that he will be cancelling the congressional picnic Thursday, saying that it "didn't feel right" to host the gathering while lawmakers and the administration work towards a solution on immigraiton.More news: England starting XI for Panama game 'revealed' by assistant