Trump digs in on immigration amid family separation crisis

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The reality, however, is that Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "zero-tolerance" policy last month in which everyone who crossed the border illegally would be prosecuted criminally, thus resulting in children being taken from adults. "We need borders, we need security, we need safety", Mr. Trump said.

About 2,000 children have been separated from their parents or adult guardians over six weeks, according to United States authorities. "What has changed is that we no longer exempt entire classes of people who break the law", she told reporters at a White House briefing. "If you don't like that, then don't smuggle children over our border".

Trump continued to cast blame on Democrats Monday, tweeting: "Why don't the Democrats give us the votes to fix the world's worst immigration laws?"

The former first lady published an opinion article in the Washington Post Sunday. "It is immoral. And it breaks my heart", Bush wrote, adding the images were "eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in USA history". I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our global boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel.

Trump also claimed that criminals are using children to enter the country. The signs of splintering GOP support come after longtime Trump ally, the Rev. Franklin Graham, called the policy "disgraceful". Conway told NBC's Meet the Press that "nobody likes" splitting up families and Giuliani told CBS' Face the Nation that the he and the president do not "like to see children taken away from their parents".

Trump has tried to blame Democrats for the policy, but it was introduced by his attorney general, and reportedly made at the urging of Trump's hard-right adviser Stephen Miller.

Former Trump adviser Anthony Scaramucci said in a weekend interview that the child separation interview could be unsafe for Trump.

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

Trump ratcheted up his position Monday, a day before he is set to go to Congress to push for a tougher immigration law.

Senator Graham of SC, a longtime Trump ally and golf partner, said on CNN on Friday (June 15), that "President Trump could stop this policy with a phone call".

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday delivered a scathing criticism of the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance policy", calling it a "a moral and humanitarian crisis". "We will have a system where those who need to apply for asylum can do so and those who want to come to this country will apply to enter lawfully". "You see what's going on with child separation", he said, noting the weekend's news cycle. "That's traumatising to the children who are innocent victims, and it is contrary to our values in this country".

But it's become tougher to deport people as they've learned to exploit parts of USA law that are more lenient on children and families, and on people who claim asylum - even if their case is shaky.

A two-year-old Honduran asylum seeker cries as her mother is searched and detained near the US-Mexico border on June 12 in McAllen, Texas.

Democrats have accused the president of effectively turning the children into political hostages to secure stricter immigration measures, such as funding for a U.S. -Mexico border wall.

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