Members of the Trump administration, such as Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, have said that only Congress has the power to reverse the family separation policy. But if Trump can sign an executive order cancelling the policy, then US officials have been misleading the public.
"We're keeping the family together," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office of the White House Wednesday.
"Ivanka feels very strongly, my wife feels very strongly about it, I feel very strongly about it," the president said. "We are going to keep the families together. I didn't like the sight or the feeling of families being separated."
The order still permits the US government to detain families trying to enter the country indefinitely, the New York Times reported, but now families won't be split up while they are in US custody.
"Thank you for your leadership," Nielsen said to Trump before he signed the executive order. Trump also quipped during the signing ceremony, "We're going to have a lot of happy people."
The president said he still wants Congress to appropriate financing for the border wall, adding that the US has to ensure it has "a very powerful, very strong border."
Trump later mocked previous Democratic leaders who vowed to keep a tough stance on immigration.