‘We will not apologize:’ Homeland Security chief Nielsen defends immigration policy

Aaron Brown
June 19, 2018

"What the president has discovered is this policy, which he put in place six weeks ago, is creating an uproar among the American people", Van Hollen said in an interview in Brownsville, Texas. "This is something that transcends politics".

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 unsafe network".

"We do not have a policy of separating families at the border".

Children whose parents are referred for prosecution will be placed with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR). If you want to know where the separation policy came from and why Nielsen is suddenly the face of it, that's why. Mr Trump has derided that practice as "catch and release", arguing that numerous immigrants never appear for court proceedings.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions even acknowledged that children would be separated from their guardians when he announced the new policy last month. Republican Senator Susan Collins of ME said Sunday the number "may well be higher".

Lawmakers have jumped in, calling out Nielsen and her statement, labeling it a lie, and challenging both the Trump administration and Nielsen to address the growing crisis that is spiraling out of control.

Nielsen says agents shouldn't apologize for doing their jobs.

The administration's "zero-tolerance" policy has sparked a backlash from Democrats and condemnation from some Republicans as well, including former first lady Laura Bush, who called it "cruel" and "immoral" in a Washington Post op-ed.

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A group of Republicans in Congress asked President Trump to scale back to the practice.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein has the support of 43 senators, all Democrats, for a bill in her chamber.

"No more free passes, no more get out of jail free cards", she said.

The internet unleashed on Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during her press conference, with tweets attacking her personally and fact-checking inaccurate claims. The legislation wouldn't explicitly forbid the incarceration of children alongside their parents.

Trump's deeply controversial plan has earned criticism from other Republicans as well - but most of the elected officials until Monday afternoon had been the Republicans who'd already shown a willingness to criticize Trump in the past, like Sens.

You are not breaking the law by seeking asylum at a port of entry.

Nielsen noted how the administration saw a 315 percent increase in immigrants "fraudulently using children to pose as family units to gain entry into this country" from October 2017 to this past February. Also, the New York Times reports that Border Patrol is turning away asylum seekers "for days or longer".

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