The U.S. government separated almost 2,000 children from their parents in April and May as a result of this policy, placing the minors in shelters or with extended family members while their parents are prosecuted.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions asserted in an op-ed published late Tuesday that migrant children who are held by the Department of Health and Human Services, including those who are separated from their parents, are "well cared for".
The policy sought to aggressively prosecute adults crossing the U.S. -Mexico border illegally. Those in criminal proceedings are guaranteed a (now severely overworked) public defender, but those in civil immigration courts are not.
"The U.S. Justice Department is ignoring its legal and moral obligation for the sake of a political agenda at the expense of children and the efforts of state law enforcement officials combating crimes like human trafficking, drug trafficking and gang violence which operate across global borders", Balderas said in a statement. Trump also eliminated an extremely successful detention alternative program for undocumented people.
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This administration has a simple message: "If you cross the border illegally, we will prosecute you", Nielsen said earlier Monday. Nielsen's second tweet - specifically saying " We do not have a policy of separating families at the border ".
Sessions, most recently, defended the policy last week, invoking the Bible to justify the administration's immigration policies. "We demand that you immediately reverse these harmful policies in the best interests of the children and families affected", the attorneys general write in the letter to Sessions.
Hunton & Williams partner Tim Heaphy, a former USA attorney for the Western District of Virginia who helped organize the letter, said Tuesday it was unusual for former US attorneys to speak out on administration policies, but noted there was bipartisan consensus on the issue.
Now, those crossing face criminal prosecution - but as the children are too young to be charged with a crime, children and parents can not be detained together.
In a statement from her read Tuesday by UNICEF spokesman Christophe Boulierac, Fore noted the US government has long supported UNICEF's efforts to help migrant children in places like Syria, South Sudan and Haiti.
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However the dispute ends, it has exposed her government's fragility at a hard time for the continent. The people of Europe are moving farther and faster on illegal immigration than their leaders.
"We have watched what happened with the Obama policies", Sessions said.
Addressing criticism by church leaders of the administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, the former Alabama senator cited the "clear and wise command" of the Apostle Paul in the 13th Chapter of Romans "to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the goal of order". When Mr. Trump signed an executive order Wednesday ending the practice of separating families at the border, it was Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen who appeared behind him, not Mr. Sessions. They have said the separations result from legal loopholes but insist immigrants who arrive illegally won't simply be released.
"I believe, strongly, that it is moral, decent and just for a nation to have a lawful system of immigration", Sessions said.
Migrant families split apart at border
And it breaks my heart", Bush said on Twitter as she shared her column. "We need borders, we need security, we need safety", Mr. But Trump has defended his policy by tweeting: " If you don't have Borders, you don't have a Country! ".