By Kevin Kelleher
June 20, 2018

After facing mounting pressure for an immigration policy that separated children from their parents at the U.S. border, President Trump signed an executive order that sought to end the policy Wednesday, effectively allowing families to remain together in custody.

The move—coming after weeks of growing criticism from doctors, religious groups, and politicians from both parties—represented a retreat from a position that Trump has steadfastly supported. If caving into intense political pressure wasn’t enough of a setback for the president, his executive order also misspelled the word “separation” as “seperation.”

The error was soon corrected the White House’s website, but not before the gaffe was quickly noted on Twitter.

The executive order directed government lawyers to seek a modification of the Flores settlement, a consent decree from 1997 that bars the federal government from holding children in immigrant detention for more than 20 days. The change would require court approval, a process that may grow complicated if immigrant activists or others pose a legal challenge to the move.

Trump and others in the White House have made similar spelling errors in the past. Earlier this year, the White House’s public schedule misspelled the name of British Prime Minister Theresa May three times in a single day. Last month, the president spelled his wife Melania’s name as “Melanie.”

Speaking with reporters Wednesday, Trump noted that the order would maintain his “zero tolerance” policy on people attempting to immigrate illegally into the United States, but that it would allow children to remain with their parents or other adult guardians.

“We’re going to have strong, very strong borders, but we’re going to keep the families together,” Trump said. “I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated.” As he signed the order, Trump added: “You’re going to have a lot of happy people.”

It’s not clear, however, whether those happy people are sticklers for good spelling.

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