WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump says his executive order ending the practice of separating families at the border shows compassion while still pursuing his zero-tolerance policy on migrants entering the country illegally.
"I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated," he said. "It's a problem that has gone on for many years, as you know, for many administrations and we are working very hard on immigration."
"It's been left out in the cold," he continued. "People haven't dealt with it and we are dealing with it."
The White House was under intense pressure to make a move after images showing children being taken from their parents and held in detention facilities.
While Trump made it clear the zero-tolerance policy of detaining those entering the country illegally continues, migrant children will now stay in detention centers with their parents instead of being separated from them.
The president talked about how he got pressure from first lady Melania Trump and his daughter, Ivanka to amend the policy,
"Ivanka feels very strongly; my wife feels very strongly about it; I feel very strongly about it," Trump said. "I think anybody with a heart would feel very strongly about it."
Meanwhile, the president hopes lawmakers will match his executive order with legislation addressing the problem of illegal immigration on a broader scale – and lawmakers agree.
"Ultimately, we need a large-scale solution on immigration," Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) told CBN News. "Immigration is not an issue that you can just look at and say we pick one area and ignore all the rest."
A group of Republican senators introduced a quick, legislative fix aimed at keeping families together at the border. But it does not address other immigration issues, like protecting the so-called Dreamers or reforming the visa lottery program.
"All those are important issues to be resolved that Congress has talked about and dropped and talked about and dropped. It's time to be able to resolve those," continued Lankford.
Senators are still frustrated that they failed to pass four bipartisan immigration reform bills in February, one of which would have kept separating families from ever being an issue.
The House plans to vote on two immigration bills Thursday. Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers told CBN News that while she's pleased with the executive order, it's time for Congress to act.
"I believe we have put forward a really strong proposal that will make sure our border is secure but also provide a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program) solution," says McMorris Rodgers.
House Democrats argue the DACA protection in one of the House GOP bills is limited in scope and cuts back on legal immigration and asylum provisions.
"I don't support Speaker (Paul) Ryan's proposal because what he's really doing is putting forward an authorization for a $25 billion wall and closing access and protections to our Dreamers," Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD) told CBN News.
Brown supports border security but wants to see it accomplished through technology and additional personnel – not a wall.
"A wall that is built is a wall or obstacle that eventually there will be workarounds and go-arounds," he warned. "What we need to do is focus on comprehensive immigration reform."