Melania Trump urged "both sides of the aisle" on Sunday to come together to stop federal authorities from separating children from their parents when apprehended at the border, a rare public intervention in an issue that has generated enormous criticism of her husband.
And the president signalled the drama could drag on.
The push towards immigration votes in the House of Representatives is intensifying the divide among Republicans on one of the party's key issues and fuelling concerns that a voter backlash could cost the GOP control of the House in November.
"What the administration has chose to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you", Senator Susan Collins told CBS television's "Face the Nation".
A Department of Homeland Security official insisted that the minors were enjoying decent conditions.
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She also gave a nod to Meghan's signature hairstyle: a messy up do with strands escaping around the front section. Queen and Meghan were all smiling as they both were chatting with each other during the whole event.
In numerous cases, the families have been reunited after the parent was released from detention.
She called on Congress to simultaneously address Trump's border wall and the fate of the young immigrants left in limbo after the president rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The process can take several weeks. "If you smuggle illegal aliens across our border, then we will prosecute you". Two competing bills are headed to the floor, a hard-line immigration measure that is expected to go down, and a compromise version crafted by the House Republican leadership.
The event in the city of Elizabeth on Sunday came as news stories highlighting the family separations intensified political pressure on the White House, even from some of President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans. But there's no way the Senate will pass either one - indeed, not much chance the House will.
Trump's opposition would deal a body blow to efforts to tamp down the border crisis, which has raised alarm among evangelical leaders who backed Trump's campaign.
These include "four pillars" the administration wants: guaranteed funding of $25 billion for a wall along the Mexican border; ending the Diversity Visa Program that now offers admission by lottery to 55,000 immigrants each year; and an end to the system of family-based immigration that distributes visas to the spouses, children and siblings of US citizens.
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A wall on the border, he said, will help eliminate the problem.
Trump has also blamed Democrats for the migrants' continued plight, citing their refusal to accept a bill that would fully fund the border wall and end family reunification visas. On Twitter, he wrote that "Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change!"
Trump stressed he opposes the separations. When they are charged by the government, the children are taken away with only a hotline number for the parents to later use to track them down. US protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime while the parents are.
The DHS official also rejected as "not true" various reports of wrongdoing, including the turning away of some asylum-seekers.
Sessions and officials from the Department of Homeland Security have defended the practice of separately detaining children and parents trying to cross the border, which has led to about 2,000 children being separated from their parents in the past 45 days.
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Bannon, who left the White House in August, said he didn't think Trump was "going to back off from" the separations. He blames Democrats for a policy that he and his administration must be forced to wholly own.