Facing outcry over family separations, DHS chief says ‘we will not apologize’


He also emphasized most children have come here unaccompanied and said the Department of Health and Human Services takes custody of them at a cost of more than $1 billion a year.

When asked by CNN in March 2017 if the Trump administration was seriously considering separating migrant children from their parents, Kelly said, "Yes, I am considering in order to deter more movement along this terribly risky network".

The Trump administration fired back at criticism of its immigration policy on Sunday with tweets by both the president himself and his head of the Department of Homeland Security.

The President underwrites this practice, and so does every single Republican in Congress who isn't calling for Sessions to stop prosecuting border crossing as a criminal offense. "The parents are subject to prosecution while children may not be. If you don't want your child separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally". Trump has derided that practice as "catch and release", arguing that numerous immigrants never appear for court proceedings. The government says it separated almost 2,000 children from adults at the USA southern border over the course of six recent weeks. Republican Senator Susan Collins of ME said on Sunday the number "may well be higher". "This Department will not longer stand by and watch you attack law enforcement for enforcing the laws passed by Congress".

"The Democrats are forcing the break up of families at the Border with their terrible and cruel legislative agenda", Mr Trump said on Twitter.

In Texas, Senator Merkley said at a news conference that "hurting kids to get legislative leverage is unacceptable".

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DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen took the press's pointed questions, and she did not hide her emotions when answering them.

"While he thinks it's something that works well for that 35 per cent that still adore him, it doesn't work well for their party in November", he said in an interview.

First lady Melania Trump said she hates to see families torn apart.

"We have to do our job; we will not apologize doing for our job". Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), or those out of office, like former First Lady Laura Bush. "It is immoral. And it breaks my heart".

Furthermore, the rise of facilities that house children separated from their families at the border during Trump's administration has been well documented. Dianne Feinstein proposed a bill that would end this barbaric "deterrent" strategy. The Department of Homeland Security secretary refused to budge from her script, even as a reporter asked, "How is this not child abuse?" The legislation wouldn't explicitly forbid the incarceration of children alongside their parents.

Many others in Washington and around the country said the Trump White House is going too far.