Trump borrows language of accusers, critics in Mueller tweet

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Halsey criticised the timing of the 36-year-old First Daughter's Twitter photo with her youngest child amid reports that the US Department of Heath and Human Services had lost track of up to 1,500 migrant children in the United States. The Trump administration has decreed that such attempts will be prosecuted, meaning the adults are detained, and any children who accompany them are separated.

"Deliberately separating children from parents to sow fear in parents as a deterrence is unprecedented and beyond cruel", said Ur Jaddou, director of DHS Watch at the immigrant-advocacy group America's Voice.

But "these protections and these procedures ... were all created to make sure that these kids get fair access to the USA immigration system, so they can ask us for protection in a way that recognizes that they're kids, first and foremost, and that they aren't the same as adults", McKenna countered.

It's the reason that the new Trump administration policy of criminally prosecuting illegal border crossers will result in children being separated from their parents, even if they are arrested together.

During the Obama administration, officials at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement proposed that anyone claiming custody of unaccompanied alien children be fingerprinted. With more than 10,000 children in custody ... the program has grown vastly beyond its original intention.

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An official from the Health and Human Services Department told a congressional hearing last month that his department placed follow-up phone calls from October to December to USA households that were sponsoring the minors after they came to the border without their parents.

It's more accurate to say the government lost track of them, as Bharara put it.

Readers asked us to clarify what exactly happened with the children and how they got here.

The department could not verify the whereabouts of 1,475.

Advocates note that many families attempting to enter the US are seeking asylum from gangs and criminal activities in their home countries, and as such are not breaking the law. HHS decided 792 of those cases merited more attention and referred them to the National Call Center.

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Some social media users appear to have conflated the figures of unaccompanied minors and those who had been separated from their parents, but the outcry remains significant. The Trump administration slightly exceeded that success rate in the last three months of 2017, even as it is accused of losing children.

The White House is "really beating the immigration drum in the lead-up to the midterm elections as a rallying cry and as a way of mobilizing voter support for Trump and the candidates that he chooses", said Doris Meissner, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute and former commissioner of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service during the Clinton administration.

The "loopholes" cited by administration officials for incentivizing adults to bring children across the border include a court settlement barring detention of children, a statute preventing fast deportation of certain unaccompanied children arriving at the border and a broader body of law involving asylum.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April announced a "zero-tolerance" policy to increase prosecution of immigrants who come into the country illegally. "Especially sponsors who aren't parents, maybe they see they bit off more than they can chew".

-TRUMP: "Put pressure on the Democrats to end the awful law that separates children from there parents once they cross the Border into the U.S." - tweet Saturday.

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The immigration debate has reached a fever pitch in recent months following reports that since October about 700 children crossing the US-Mexico border have been separated from their parents.