While the Trump administration’s controversial family separation policy has been touted by top officials as a means to deter illegal immigration, President Trump has reportedly spoken privately about the tactic being a negotiating tool in his battle with Democrats. “The president has told folks that in lieu of the laws being fixed, he wants to use the enforcement mechanisms that we have,” an unnamed White House official was quoted as saying by The Washington Post. “The thinking in the building is to force people to the table,” the official said. Amid growing outrage over the policy, which has resulted in nearly 2,000 minors being separated from the adults accompanying them, Trump has publicly claimed to hate the practice, all the while claiming it is a law “forced upon our nation” by Democrats. Democratic House aides say Trump and his Republican allies have not even attempted to negotiate on a possible bipartisan compromise to stop the family separations. “On the legislative side, they are not trying to talk to any Democrats,” Drew Hammill, deputy chief of staff for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), told the Post. “They are holding the kids hostage,” he said.