Recording of Children Crying Adds to Anger over US Policy

Melania Trump enters debate over separation of migrant families

Responding to criticism of a policy that has led to more than 2,000 children being separated from their parents at the border, Trump tweeted that Democrats were to blame.

With backlash over his "zero tolerance" immigration policy intensifying, President Trump went to Capitol Hill Tuesday to meet with House Republicans about immigration reform.

More than 2000 children have been separated from their parents at the border in the past six weeks, and distressing images and audio have emerged of youngsters crying for their mothers and fathers. "All members are going to have to take some risks to make this happen".

Chris Cabrera, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent and spokesperson for the National Border Patrol Council, said Tuesday agents have seen girls coming across the border as young as 12 years old who are put on birth control "because they know getting violated is part of the journey".

After his remarks, the president raised eyebrows by walking across the stage, arms outstretched, and embracing a USA flag.

The bill faces strong headwinds as it is opposed by Democrats, who object to another provision that would cut legal immigration levels, and conservative Republicans who are backing a rival bill that takes a harder line on immigration. "They don't care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13".

With influential Republicans including senators John McCain and John Cornyn demanding an end to the separations, the House of Representatives is expected to consider two immigration bills.

"If the Democrats would sit down, instead of obstructing, we could have something done very quickly: good for the children, good for the country, good for the world", he said.

Trump made his remarks shortly after the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced its opposition to the administration's policy.

"It is absolutely wrong to separate children from their families in any circumstances and particularly when people are in distress as, for example, people that are fleeing from violence and persecution, as is the case for people in Central America", he said. They do nothing for us.

While leading Democrats have said they wouldn't support either bill ― with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) calling Ryan's "compromise" bill "doomed to fail" ― Republicans may still have enough votes to pass one of them, since the party now controls both houses of Congress.

Democrats kept a united front, seizing upon the issue to hammer Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress. Trump said to applause.

Migrant children holding facility in McAllen, Texas.

The separations are a outcome of a Trump administration policy to maximize criminal prosecutions of people caught trying to enter the USA illegally.

The separations - almost 2,000 children were separated from their parents between mid-April and the end of May - have been blasted by Democrats, some Republicans, medical professionals, rights activists and clergy.

The family separations and detentions of children, highlighted by videos of youngsters in cages and an audiotape of wailing children, have sparked anger at home from groups ranging from clergy to influential business leaders, as well as condemnation overseas.

Trump adviser Stephen Miller told the New York Times: "All day long the American people are going to side with the party that wants to secure the border".

The Department of Health and Human Services said there are now 11,700 children under its care in 100 shelters across 17 states.

The majority crossed the border without their parents.

In another tweet on Tuesday, Trump accused Democrats of letting illegal immigrants, including gang members, "pour into and infest" the United States to court their votes.

The White House, after saying it would accept only a comprehensive fix, reversed course Tuesday and said it was reviewing the Cruz bill.

But activists seized on the symbolism.

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