"The message was that even though the president was a little unclear perhaps in his chat, he was very much in favor of the [compromise] bill", Rep. Fred Upton (R., Mich.) said in describing the pitch early Wednesday from House Republican leaders.
The lawsuit - believed to be the first to challenge the administration's policy to criminally prosecute all adults suspected of illegally crossing the U.S-Mexico border - adds to the legal woes facing the Trump administration over its immigration policies.
The policy of separating immigrant children from their parents was not created by the Trump administration, but previous administrations did not use it as a weapon to deter future immigrants from seeking asylum or illegal entry into the country.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said she found images of children being detained in cages "deeply disturbing" and called the separation policy "wrong".
I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our global boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. "The border is just as tough".
After visiting Capitol Hill Tuesday night to rally a broad immigration bill, Trump said Wednesday he still hopes that Congress will act.
At the end of the discussion, a group of reporters present shouted out questions to Trump about the "zero-tolerance" immigration practice announced last month that has led to children being separated from their parents at the United States-Mexico border. The language also leaves room to separate children from parents if it's best for the child's welfare.
The former president concluded by saying "we have to do more than say 'this isn't who we are.' We have to prove it - through our policies, our laws, our actions, and our votes".
From May, when the policy was enacted, through June 9, nearly 2,300 children have been separated from their parents, according to the Department of Homeland Security. Under the Obama administration, such families were usually referred for civil deportation proceedings, not requiring separation.
"We don't want children taken away from parents, but right now under the law, as we sit with these law makers, we only have two choices before us: number one, don't prosecute people who come into our country illegally".
Under the current process, HHS works "expeditiously" to place children in care of a sponsor, although there is no time limit in "terms of days", said Steve Wagner, an acting assistant secretary at HHS.
"I didn't like the sight or feeling of families being separated", said Trump.
The plaintiffs argue that border agents and detention officials "sadistically tease and taunt parents and children with the prospect of separation, and doing so using words and tones indicating that Defendants' employees and agents enjoy the pain and suffering that the very idea of separation causes to parents and children". If those options are exhausted, authorities must find the "least restrictive" setting for a child who arrived without parents.