Trump wants authority to keep families together

President Donald Trump speaks to the National Federation of Independent Businesses 75th Anniversary Celebration, Tuesday, June 19, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) —President Donald Trump says Congress must give him the legal authority to detain and remove families that illegally enter the U.S. as a unit. His administration has argued that it has no choice but to separate families if the adults are caught crossing the border illegally, thus breaking the law.

Trump says right now the administration has just two options to deal with the flow: totally open borders or criminally prosecute border-crossers for breaking the law. Trump is under mounting pressure to reverse an immigration enforcement policy that has led to the separation of more than 2,300 migrant children from their families in recent weeks.

He says roughly half a million illegal family units have been released into the U.S. interior since 2014. Trump says that has come at "unbelievably great taxpayer expense."

Trump is telling the National Federation of Independent Business on Tuesday that "we have to have Democrat support" to fix the problem.

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