'We Will Not Apologize.' Head of Homeland Security Defends Controversial Immigration Policy

'We Will Not Apologize.' Head of Homeland Security Defends Controversial Immigration Policy

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen looked to discredit the press in a speech to the National Sheriffs' Association in New Orleans, LA on Monday - saying that illegal immigrant children detained after crossing the border are treated well.

"For those seeking asylum at ports of entry, we have continued the policy from previous Administrations and will only separate if the child is in danger, there is no custodial relationship between "family" members, or if the adult has broken a law", she said.

"We are enforcing the laws passed by Congress, and we are doing all that we can in the executive branch to protect our communities".

White House officials are unable to cite any part of US law that dictates the separations, which were initiated in April after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced "zero tolerance" for unlawful border crossings.

At an impromptu news gathering at the North Lawn Friday, Trump said he, too, "hates" separating parents and children.

"Operationally what that means is we will have to separate your family", Nielsen said, referring to the Trump administration's decision to refer for criminal prosecution all immigrants who cross the border illegally. The senators asked for details on when children are separated from their parents, what the goal of doing so is, and how many children have been separated during the asylum claim process.

President Donald Trump has been placing blame on his administration's policy on Democrats.




In April, Sessions announced that anyone found trying to cross the border illegally would be met with "the full prosecutorial powers of the Department of Justice", meaning that parents crossing with children would be detained and their children placed in USA custody. "So, if we do our duty and prosecute those cases, then children inevitably for a period of time might be in different conditions". Trump is calculating that this, yes, unconscionable policy will give him leverage in congressional negotiations on immigration reform.

Nielsen's claim the children are being "very well taken care of" is also open to debate. "Period", Homeland Security Director Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted, despite countless tales of the Trump administration doing just that.

"We talk about how President Trump wants to make America strong and great again", he added.

The United Nations office for human rights has condemned the forced separations as an "arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life", and "a serious violation of the rights of the child", and has called on the United States to "immediately halt" the practice. This is a policy made exclusively by this administration, and you can stop it right now.

Former First Lady Laura Bush wrote in an op-ed published by the Washington Post late Sunday that Trump's policy was "cruel" and "immoral", and current First Lady Melania Trump - herself an immigrant - said in a statement on Sunday that her husband's administration should "govern with heart".

Democratic and Republican strategists believe the odds of passing a broad new immigration law - this one ending the family separation policy - remains slim.

Nielsen said "those who have complained" about the policies now have an "opportunity" to work with the administration on the issue.

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