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"What the administration has made a decision to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that, if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you", she said.

But instead of giving concrete answers, offering feasible solutions, or expressing concern for the affected families, Nielsen defended the administration, blamed Democrats, and deflected questions.

But the DHS does separate children from families at the border, and they just put out a press release about it on June 15, explaining its new "zero tolerance" policy for border crossers.

Unauthorized border crossings have always been illegal, but previous administrations did not criminally prosecute all border-crossers. "But now, it is the exclusive product of loopholes in our federal immigration laws that prevent illegal immigrant minors and family members from being detained and removed to their home countries".

People participate in a protest against recent US immigration policy of separating children from their families when they enter the United States as undocumented immigrants, in front of a Homeland Security facility in Elizabeth, New Jersey on June 17, 2018. "We want safety and we want security for our country". There's videos, there's TVs, I visited the detention centers myself.

Technically, there is no Trump administration policy stating that illegal border crossers must be separated from their children.

President Donald Trump has been placing blame on his administration's policy on Democrats. Customs and Border Protection's Rio Grande Valley Sector via Associated Press The Flores settlement is a 1997 legal agreement struck by the Clinton administration following years of litigation on the treatment of children detained by immigration authorities.

The DHS secretary says the separations are warranted in cases where the parents have broken USA law by entering the country illegally - and that what her agency is doing is no different from how the government treats parents who break any other laws. "As I mentioned earlier, this get-out-of-jail-free card for families and groups who pose as families has spread". Former first lady Laura Bush said that as a resident of a border state, she appreciates the need to protect the nation's boundaries. "And it breaks my heart". "Research also suggests that the longer that parents and children are separated, the greater the reported symptoms of anxiety and depression are for children". Before the briefing, some reporters in attendance had been listening to audio obtained by ProPublica of 10 Central American child migrants reacting with grief and confusion after being separated from their parents at the border. "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.

Nielsen is the latest administration official to be called out for misleading statements on the policy.