House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) said Wednesday that Republicans do not want immigrant families to be separated at the U.S. border.
"We do not want children taken away from their parents," Ryan told reporters gathered at the House Republican leadership's weekly press briefing. He insisted that it is possible to "enforce our immigration laws without breaking families apart."
Currently, families crossing the border illegally are separated after entering the United States. This policy has spurred domestic and international criticism, with Pope Francis expressing his support for statements by U.S. Catholic bishops calling family separations "immoral." Republican lawmakers have also called on the president to change the policy.
Ryan said the House will vote on legislation on Thursday that would ensure families who are prosecuted for illegally crossing the border "will remain together under DHS [Department of Homeland Security] custody throughout the length of their legal proceedings." He added that "additional funding is also going to be made available so that DHS has sufficient resources to house and care for families during this entire process."
The House speaker decried what he called a "false choice" between "enforcing our laws, securing our borders, and keeping families together." The legislation to be voted on Thursday "makes sure we can enforce our laws and keep families together."
"We don't think families should be separated, period," Ryan repeated for emphasis.
President Donald Trump also announced Wednesday that he would be "signing something in a little while" that will prevent families from being separated at the border.