Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Harrowing images of children in detention centers, the administration's flip flopping on its own family separation policy and two bills struggling to make it through the House have kept the national focus on immigration this week.

The big picture: Trump signed an executive order to end family separation, causing chaos amidst government agencies. He doubled down on his tough immigration message by holding an event with families whose children were killed by undocumented immigrants. One House immigration bill failed, another got punted to next week and Melania wore a $39 jacket that said "I don’t really care" on her trip to the border.

1. President Trump's executive order

After consistently blaming Congress for the crisis of children being torn away from their parents, Trump signed an executive order, which:

  • Told Homeland Security to keep families in detention together throughout all criminal and immigration proceedings.
  • Told the Justice Department to ask a federal district judge to modify a 2015 decision in order to allow children to be detained for an indefinite period of time with their parents. DOJ submitted the request the next day.

Why it matters: The judge's decision will be crucial to the administration overcoming legal hurdles that prevent them from detaining family migrants together long term.

2. Agency chaos
  • Homeland Security corrected a statement from the Department of Health and Human Service, which said that children would not be immediately reunited with their parents.
  • The Justice Department corrected reports quoting Homeland Security officials and clarified that there was still a full-fledged "zero-tolerance" policy in place.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has publicly said that “if you are smuggling a child... that child will be separated from you,” claimed this week that he "never really intended" to separate families.

Bottom line: It is still unclear how Homeland Security and HHS are reuniting the 2,300 children who have already been separated with their parents. A senior administration official told AP that 500 children have been successfully reunited, but there have also been reports of parents struggling to locate their kids and being deported while their children remain in the U.S.

3. Failing immigration bills

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte's immigration bill failed, and House leadership pushed back a promised vote on a more moderate bill to next week.

What we're hearing: A few details of the compromise bill are still being worked out. Additions are being negotiated, which would ensure the widespread use of E-verify and that there are the needed foreign workers for U.S. agriculture.

Bottom line: This bill is unlikely to pass. Its failure would close another door to allowing Homeland Security to keep migrant families together in detention longer than 20 days. What's in the bill.

4. New housing for child migrants

Meanwhile, tent villages are being constructed on military based to house unaccompanied alien minors and the Pentagon has been asked to house 20,000 immigrant minors from July to the end of the year.

5. The distractions
  1. Melania’s jacket: The First Lady took a trip to the Mexican border to spend time with migrant children in detention there, but it was her army green jacket with the words “I don’t really care, do u?” printed on the back that made headlines.
  2. Photo correction: The little girl crying in a viral photo which became a symbol for opposition to Trump's immigration policies was never separated from her mother. This revelation became fodder for media critics.
  3. Counter programming: Trump held an event featuring the families of children who had been killed by undocumented immigrants on Friday, comparing their tragic, "permanent separation" from their children to the separation his own administration had been enforcing at the border.

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Pandemic plunges U.K. into "largest recession on record"

The scene near the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England in the City of London, England. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom slumped into recession as its gross domestic product GDP shrank 20.4% compared with the first three months of the year, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) confirmed Wednesday.

Why it matters: Per an ONS statement, "It is clear that the U.K. is in the largest recession on record." The U.K. has faired worse than any other major European economy from coronavirus lockdowns, Bloomberg notes. And finance minister Rishi Sunak warns the situation is likely to worsen.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The United Kingdom slumped into recession on Wednesday, as its gross domestic product GDP shrank 20.4% compared with the first three months of the year.

By the numbers: Over 741,400 people have died of the novel coronavirus globally and more than 20.2 million have tested positive, per Johns Hopkins. Almost 12.6 million have recovered from the virus.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 20,294,091 — Total deaths: 741,420— Total recoveries: 12,591,454Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,141,207 — Total deaths: 164,537 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. States: Georgia reports 137 coronavirus deaths, setting new daily record Florida reports another daily record for deaths.
  4. Health care: Trump administration buys 100 million doses of Moderna's coronavirus vaccine.
  5. Business: Moderna reveals it may not hold patent rights for vaccine.
  6. Sports: Big Ten scraps fall football season.
  7. World: Anthony Fauci "seriously" doubts Russia's coronavirus vaccine is safe