Four former first ladies - Rosalynn Carter, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton - have condemned the policy, and every Democratic senator has signed on to a bill to ban family separation at the border.
Confusion broke out Thursday afternoon over the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy to criminally prosecute migrant families caught crossing the border illegally. It also doesn't change anything yet for the some 2,300 children taken from their families since the policy was put into place.
The children on the audio, estimated to be between 4 and 10 years old, sobbed throughout the almost eight-minute tape that was recorded last week inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility. That's just what he did.
"For those children still in Border Patrol custody, we are reuniting them with parents or legal guardians returned to Border Patrol custody following prosecution", a CBP spokesperson said in the statement.
The administration's "zero tolerance" policy entails criminally charging those entering the United States illegally, including asylum seekers.
"This is a stopgap measure", said Gene Hamilton, counsel to the attorney general.
However, a 1997 landmark settlement, known as the Flores agreement, generally bars the government from keeping children in immigration detention for more than 20 days.
So Trump's order is likely to create a fresh set of problems and may well spark a new court fight. Because no doubt the truth - we're jailing the parents and let the kids be collateral damage - doesn't play as well as simply denying there is any separation policy.
And it didn't do much for the teeming outrage over the issue.
The order even seemed to have come together hastily, with news that it was in the works surprising those on Capitol Hill and even one source in an agency that would carry out the order, who were unsure what it would say.
However, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration in February claiming asylum seeking families are being separated.
These caregivers also share concerns about children's nightmares, insomnia or acting out in school, all of which can be signs of anxiety or depression.
The Health and Human Services department, which has custody over the children, is still "awaiting further guidance" on how Trump's executive order will be implemented, a spokesman told Business Insider. I've said it before and I will say it again, it is child abuse; not physical, it's psychological.
Trump's family apparently played a role in his turnaround. She said the government has high standards for detention centers and the children are well cared for and stressed that Congress needs to plug loopholes in the law so families can stay together.
And daughter Ivanka Trump tweeted, "Thank you @POTUS for taking critical action ending family separation at our border".
Reporters were invited to tour the busiest detention facility in McAllen and question border patrol officials over the weekend. Those people were not authorized to speak publicly and commented only on condition of anonymity. She was heckled at a restaurant Tuesday evening and has faced protesters at her home. "Republicans want security. But I am working on something - it never ends!"
In recent weeks, more than 2,500 such children were separated from their parents.
Instead of separating the migrant children from their parents, the order sought instead to detain entire families as the adults' cases proceeded through the court system. "She's a child. How can they treat her this way?" Protesters were galvanized to act after distressing photos and stories hit social media depicting children separated from their parents and sleeping in cages, crammed five in a room at repurposed Walmarts, or in so-called "tent cities" at costs reportedly exceeding what it would take to keep families together.
A flyer released by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) June 19, 2018, shows information being distributed in U.S. -Mexico border facilities at which immigrant parents are being detained. The decision did not state parents must be released. Children experience profound grief when a parent dies, divorces, is incarcerated or is deported.