DHS: Most Illegals at Border Don't Meet Criteria to Enter US


Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the Trump administration's practice of separating children from parents when the family is being prosecuted for entering the US illegally, telling a Senate committee Tuesday that removing children from parents facing criminal charges happens "in the United States every day".

Harris opposes the policy, in which illegal alien adults are detained and children are placed in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services while the adult's case is adjudicated.

But Nielsen also agreed with senators that more must be done to protect the children who either come to the United States without their parents or are separated from them.

"They know if they cross between the ports of entry nothing will happen", she said. "You have broken USA law".

Asked why she is separating families, Nielsen said her decision "has been that anyone who breaks the law will be prosecuted". Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., that the government could do a better job of monitoring the children it places in a family's custody to make sure they're safe.

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Last month, HHS officials acknowledged that federal officials lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children in 2017 after they were placed with adult sponsors in communities across the nation. Right now there's a capacity for 10,000 children on this military base. HHS said in a statement only that it routinely evaluates temporary housing locations.

The New York Times was first to report last week that Nielsen was "close" to resigning after Trump yelled at her in front of colleagues about his stance that undocumented immigrant children should be separated from their parents when they cross into the USA illegally.

Nielsen denied that she had been asked to separate illegal alien parents from their children as a method of deterrence.

"The President is rightly frustrated that existing loopholes and the lack of Congressional action have prevented this administration from fully securing the border and protecting the American people", she said.