President Donald Trump continued to mislead about the origin of the humanitarian crisis on the US border, saying Democrats refuse to approve new funds for detention facilities for children.
The President was not required to sign anything to change the administration's practice that elicited outrage. He could have reversed the practice of splitting children from their parents with a phone call.
Trump insisted that conditions at some of the child detention facilities were "the nicest that people have seen."
"They talk about inhumane treatment. I read them. I looked at them. They're all over the place," Trump said during a Cabinet meeting Thursday. "We have a situation where some of these places, they're really running them well."
Trump gave credit to his Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, but acknowledged "it's still something that shouldn't be taking place."
He also said the executive action he signed on Wednesday was limited in its scope, and ultimately wouldn't end the separations.
"Democrat and court-ordered loopholes prevent family detention and lead to family separation, not matter how you cut it. I signed a very good executive order yesterday, but that's only limited. No matter how you cut it it leads to separation, ultimately," the President said.
But on Wednesday, Trump declared it is his administration's policy to "maintain family unity," including by detaining entire families together "where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources."
The order directed other agencies, including the Pentagon, to take steps to find places to house family units. The order specifies that migrants entering the US with children will not be kept together if there's a fear for the child's welfare. Families will also be prioritized in the adjudication process.
Even so, the move is almost certain to face immediate legal action challenging the administration's authority to keep families detained at length.
Trump also said Thursday some of the children coming to the US are arriving with "coyotes" and human traffickers and said "the Democrat-supported policies ... allowed this to happen."
He said Democrats didn't want to provide enough money to make life comfortable for the detained minors.
"Let's run the most luxurious hotel in the world for everybody -- but they don't want to give us the money," he said.
He said Democrats were invited to come to the White House this afternoon to discuss immigration.