USA homeland security: No apology for immigrant separations

Inside an old warehouse in South Texas hundreds of children wait in a series of cages created by metal fencing

Critics of the US policy which separates children their parents when they cross the border illegally from Mexico protest during a "Families Belong Together March" in downtown Los Angeles, June 14, 2018.

President Trump doubled down on his administration's practice of separating illegal immigrant families at the Mexican border yesterday, saying the United States "will not be a migrant camp", as outrage mounted with MA officials blasting the policy and demanding immediate change.

The Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy provides for the arrest of all adults caught trying to enter the United States illegally, including those seeking asylum.

The family separations, documented by online videos of youngsters detained in cages, put Trump back at the center of a furor over immigration, an issue he inflamed as a presidential candidate and that he has carried into his administration.

Ms Conway rejected the idea that the president was using the kids as leverage to force Democrats to negotiate on immigration and his long-promised border wall, even after Mr Trump tweeted on Saturday: "Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change!" Laura Bush said the ongoing policy at the border "breaks her heart" in an editorial published by The Washington Post.

The division within the White House was made most clear by a statement from First Lady Melania Trump which simultaneously decried the policy and deflected blame for it. "She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with a heart". "Every parent who has ever held a child in their arms, every human being with a sense of compassion and decency, should be outraged". From April 19 to May 31, 1,995 children were separated from 1,940 adults, according to Homeland Security statistics obtained by The Associated Press.

Trump and others in the administration have blamed the separations on a law the president claims was written by Democrats. "We want safety and we want security for our country". The law makes no provision for denying asylum seekers entry if the ports are busy. "Are you intending for parents to be separated from their children?"

A "zero tolerance" policy from Attorney General Jeff Sessions mandates all border-crossers be treated as criminals.

"We will not apologize for the job we do or for the job law enforcement does for doing the job that the American people expect us to do", Nielsen told the National Sheriffs' Association during a speech in New Orleans. "I live in a border state", she said. Almost 2,000 children were taken away from their parents in a six-week period ending last month under the new Trump administration policy.

The government says they can be reunited with their parents, though how fast and easily that can happen remains unclear.

As reporters questioned whether children were being adequately cared for and whether the policy constituted child abuse, Nielsen said that the DHS was merely enforcing policies and it was up to Congress to change the laws.

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