DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Defends Separation Of Families At The Border

She tweeted on Sunday that the DHS doesn't "have a policy of separating families at the border".

During the White House press briefing, Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary for Homeland Security, made several false claims about border security, according to Julia Ainsley, National Security Justice reporter for NBC.

Nielsen ultimately said that the children in custody are well taken care of and that they may still communicate with their parents in some cases, but said that the separation policy is still necessary until Congress is able to change the law.

The Trump administration ended the practice in April. "It is immoral. And it breaks my heart". "I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our global boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel", Bush wrote.

But he also repeated the falsehood that Democrats, now in the minority in Congress, are responsible for a law that mandates family separations. Officials also acknowledge that the number may be even higher.

DHS "may separate a parent or legal guardian from his or her child for several reasons, including situations where DHS can not ascertain the parental relationship, when DHS determines that a child may be at risk with the presumed parent or legal guardian, or if a parent or legal guardian is referred for criminal prosecution, including for illegal entry", the website notes.

The backlash against the tactic grew into a protest march on Sunday, with hundreds of people heading to a tent city in Tornillo, Texas, where children have been detained near El Paso.

The Office of Refugee Resettlement is the agency under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that is responsible for the children.

The guide sheet adds, "DHS and HHS can take steps to facilitate reunification with your child (ren)".

Asked specifically about the Japanese internment camps remark from former first lady Laura Bush, Nielsen said: "What I believe is that we should exercise our Democratic rights as Americans and fix the problem". Federal law requires children and adults to be kept in separate facilities, which is further complicated when the parents are prosecuted for illegal entry. I've been visited the detention centers myself.

One day earlier, Nielsen had been much mocked for a tweet claiming, "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border".

"You have many people in the Trump administration denying that they're using this as some sort of political leverage", NPR's Scott Detrow reports.

Hours after Trump's comments, the White House issued a statement saying the president had misspoken.

On Fox & Friends Monday, the tweets were presented as an attempt to "clarify" the policy. "Don't wait until after the election because you are going to lose!"

Trump has placed blame for the policy on Democrats as recently as Friday, when he had an impromptu press conference outside the White House.

The skirmish is an escalation of the dispute embroiling the Trump administration and members of Congress, including some Republicans, over its policy causing the separation of thousands of migrant families crossing the border in recent months.

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