'We Will Not Apologize': Trump DHS Chief Defends Immigration Policy

The nation's homeland security chief insisted Sunday that immigrant children are not being separated from their parents at the border - despite the Trump administration defending its policy and eyewitness accounts of government-snatched boys and girls being held in cages at a private detention center in Texas.

"Don't believe the press".

Nielsen was speaking Monday at the National Sheriff's Association conference in New Orleans.

Nielsen has faced doubts from immigration hard-liners who question whether she is sufficiently committed to the administration's approach, which threatens criminal prosecution for anyone who crosses the border illegally. But no longer, she said, will parents get a free pass.

On Fox & Friends Monday, the tweets were presented as an attempt to "clarify" the policy. And she said the children taken away from parents are doing fine.

The Trump administration fired back at criticism of its immigration policy on Sunday with tweets by both the president himself and his head of the Department of Homeland Security.

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 US custody. If you make a false immigration claim, we will prosecute you. "If you smuggle illegal aliens across an extraordinarily risky journey, we will prosecute you". She said those seeking asylum "have no reason to break the law and illegally cross between ports of entry". 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.

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Several prominent Democrats spent Father's Day crisscrossing the Rio Grande Valley in Texas to meet with US border authorities and tour detention centers for apprehended children, including a former Walmart Inc. store that's been converted into a shelter for nearly 1,500 immigrant boys.

In May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned the administration was enforcing a "zero tolerance" policy on immigration.

That's from WaPo, which reported in the same piece that Trump is known to tell aides that Nielsen's "not tough enough" and that she's a "Bush person".

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

What's more, journalists and lawmakers made note of previous comments Nielsen has made in defense of the same policy she tweeted doesn't exist.

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.

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