DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says migrant children are being treated humanely

Jeff Sessions DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defend 'zero tolerance' immigration policy that breaks up families

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says migrant children are being treated humanely

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen came out with a series of tweets over the weekend seeking to defend the Trump administration over outrage about its policy.

"We now care for them, we have high standards, we give them meals, we give them education, we give them medical care, there's videos, there's TVs, I've visited the detention centers myself", she said.

Sessions acknowledged then that it would mean separating parents from children if they come into the USA illegally.

Yet there is no law requiring children to be taken from parents apprehended after unlawfully crossing the border.

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Trump and administration officials have said the policy, which was not practiced by the two previous presidents, is needed to secure the border and deter illegal immigration. Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "zero tolerance" policy, in which every person crossing the border illegally would be criminally prosecuted, having the effect of children being separated from their parents. "I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the goal of order", he said Thursday. They award contracts to licensed child-care providers to house them.

In the Senate, Republican Senator Ted Cruz, who ran unsuccessfully against Trump in 2016 for their party's presidential nomination, said he would introduce legislation this week to halt family separations.

The White House press corps was extremely skeptical of Nielsen's assertions, repeatedly asking why the president doesn't reverse the zero tolerance policy that has caused the separation.

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. "This is exactly why passage of a compromise solution, such as that being discussed in Congress right now, is absolutely necessary", Valadao said.

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Trump, in a string of Twitter comments, decried Europe's problems with mass immigration and vowed to control the flow of migrants into the United States. He insisted again that his family separation policy was the outcome of "horrible laws" that the opposition party refused to agree to change. "If you are seeking asylum, go to a port of entry". That move, which is discretionary, brings into play regulations that prevent parents facing criminal prosecution from being imprisoned with their children.

Pressed again, she was asked if she could say "definitively" that the children are not being "used as a pawn" to get Congress to support the border wall.

Nielsen insisted that it's not that she doesn't know where they are, it's that it's not her department.

Amnesty International recently interviewed 17 asylum-seeking parents who were forcibly separated from their children, and all but three of them had entered the U.S. legally to request asylum.

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She noted families were kept together during the Obama administration only until a court ruled that both accompanied and unaccompanied children must be released after 20 days. If you make a false immigration claim, we will prosecute you.

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