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Trump says executive order on family separation is "something we needed to do"

Last Updated Jun 25, 2018 2:48 PM EDT

President Trump told reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah II that the executive order he signed late last week on family separations at the U.S. border was "something we needed to do."

"The exeuctive order was great, it's something I felt we had to do. We want children staying together -- the law has been this law for a long period of time," Mr. Trump said, as he sat beside King Abdullah on Monday. He slammed "fake news reports" that he didn't want to sign the order on Thursday, saying he was "very, very happy that I signed that, and it also shows we're all talking about humanity."

The president added that existing immigration laws "have to be changed," but he offered no details on where he stood on the GOP immigration legislation being considered in the House this week. He instead again railed against congressional Democrats for wanting "open borders."

"We want to have a great immigration. What we have is very simple -- we want strong borders, and we want no crime," Mr. Trump said. "The Democrats want open borders, and they don't care about crime, and they don't care about our military. I care about our military, that's what we want, and that what were going to get, and we're going to get it sooner than we think," he added. 

President Trump also mentioned the administration's long-awaited Middle East peace plan, which the president's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has said is "almost done." Kushner recently visited the region, stopping in Jordan, Israel, Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. 

"We're doing very well in the Middle East, a lot of progress made in the Middle East that really started with the end of the horrible Iran deal, that deal was a disaster," said Mr. Trump.

In an interview published in the Arabic language Al-Quds newspaper, Kushner appealed directly to Palestinians and criticized President Mahmoud Abbas, who has shunned the Trump team over its alleged pro-Israel bias, particularly on the fate of contested Jerusalem.