Trump bowed to intense pressure on Wednesday and signed an order ending the separation of children from their families while parents are prosecuted for crossing the border illegally, which had caused uproar at home and overseas. "As I stand here there are 2,300 kids that have been ripped away from their parents by our government".
Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu of California has aired audio on the House floor of sobbing children in a detention center crying out for their parents.
Lieu, however, kept playing the recording, despite her objections, until its completion. "He changes so frequently that anybody who depends on that, I think, is in trouble", he said.
House Republicans on Thursday failed to pass a conservative immigration bill that would have offered only temporary protection to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program recipients while also making drastic cuts to legal immigration.
In abandoning the compromise bill and delaying a vote until after the November elections, Trump risks losing $23 billion in funding for border security included in the proposal, some of which would go toward building the wall along the US border with Mexico.
The Trump administration previously had not said whether any hundreds of children who were separated from their families had been reunited.
They said Customs and Border Protection officials argued forcefully that agents who are apprehending migrant families at the border can not refer all the adults for prosecution because the Justice Department does not have the resources to accept all the cases.
The Mendez family has been waiting two weeks for United States officials to let them formally request asylum - a long wait that is pushing many to cross the border illegally, according to activists.
"If these bills do not pass today then we will cross that bridge when we get to it", he said on Thursday morning, "But the last thing I want to do right now is undercut the votes that we're about to have".
The president suggested Thursday in a tweet that his party should drop its efforts to pass any immigration bill, writing "what's the purpose" of even having votes if Senate Democrats oppose both House bills. GOP leaders said they'd press on anyway, but his comments further damaged their attempt to win over wavering lawmakers for a measure already facing likely defeat.
The immigration bill tabled on Thursday was rejected by the U.S. House of Representatives favoured by conservatives which would have put a stop on the practice of separating families and addressed other immigration issues.
The news came as lawmakers were scrambling to find the votes and answer an onslaught of rank-and-file member questions about what the compromise legislation does.
During a meeting with lawmakers earlier this week, Trump said he supported the bill "1,000 percent".
As Republicans in Congress struggled to reach consensus on immigration legislation, the White House has grappled with fierce criticism in recent weeks over the policy that has separated more than 2,300 children from their families.
Which is to say: The president has (apparently) decided that he would like to continue torturing small migrant children - and holding Dreamers hostage - until voters deliver him a nativist Senate, or Democrats agree to pay his ransom, and vote to fund his wall and slash legal immigration. Democrats are hoping discontent with Trump's policies, including on immigration, will help them pick up the 23 seats needed to recapture a majority in the House.