Under fire from politicians on both sides of the aisle, President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order to resolve his policy of separating immigrant families without proper documentation at the United States-Mexico border.
The order requires that immigrant families be detained together when they are caught entering the country illegally, although it was not immediately clear for how long.
The move comes amid a chorus of backlash over the Trump administration’s initial policy and one day after Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is planning a lawsuit, revealed that children who were separated from their parents at the border have been moved to federal shelters in New York.
Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday visited a foster care facility in East Harlem that he said has seen more than 350 immigrant children since the Trump administration’s family separation policy began.
“We have to make sure that we understand that each one of these children is a human being with a name and a family and a story,” the mayor said.
At least 2,000 children were separated from their parents at the border between mid-April and the end of May. While parents are held in jail, their children are sent to separate detention facilities. Administration officials were unable to clarify when and how families separated would be reunited.
On Sunday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection released photos of children who were separated from their parents being kept in metal cages, sparking outrage from elected officials across the country, including in New York.
“The government is tearing young children away from their parents, putting them in cages, sending them to tent cities. This is beyond horrific. Please, make your outrage known today,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said in a tweet on Monday.
Sen. Chuck Schumer also publicly denounced the family separation policy.
Trump had previously defended his administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy, saying on Monday that he would not allow the U.S. to become a “migrant camp.”
Scroll down for an inside look at the immigration processing center in McCallen, Texas.