Washington - US President Donald Trump backed down on Wednesday on an immigration policy that sparked outrage at home and abroad, signing an executive order to end the separation of children from their parents when immigrant families are caught crossing the US-Mexico border illegally.
The order requires that immigrant families be detained together when they are caught entering the country illegally, although it was not immediately clear for how long.
It also moves parents with children to the front of the line for immigration proceedings. The order does not end a "zero tolerance" policy that calls for criminal prosecution of immigrants crossing the border illegally.
“It's about keeping families together while at the same time making sure that we have a very powerful, very strong border,” Trump said as he signed the order in a hastily arranged Oval Office gathering.
Videos of youngsters in cages and an audiotape of wailing children had sparked anger in the United States from groups ranging from clergy to influential business leaders, as well as condemnation from abroad, including Pope Francis.