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The white house defended the enforcement of the immigration laws
DHS Secretary Nielsen calls for Congress to act on immigration, close loopholes; reaction and analysis on ‘the Five.’
Under withering questioning from the White House press corps, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, insisted on Monday that the growing crisis at the US-Mexico border is “new” under a national outcry about the separation of the children of immigrants, from their parents.
After an 11-minute opening statement, Nielsen a number of contentious issues faced by the Trump-government, the “zero-tolerance” policy for illegal border crossings. At one point, CNN reporter Jeff Zeleny asked: “How this kid is not abuse, for these innocent children who are separated in fact from your parents?”
Nielsen responded by claiming that the “vast majority” of the children, the year is currently at the border for unaccompanied refugee minors.
“We now have answered for you,” Nielsen. “We have high standards. We give them meals. We give them education. We give them medical care. There are videos, there are TVs … That would be my answer to this question.”
ABC News’ Cecilia Vega, asked Nielsen if she had heard, audio-published by ProPublica with a migration background, children crying at a state institution, where she had been taken after they separated from their parents. Nielsen replied that she had, but again insisted that the children were cared for separately.
In its statement, Nielsen called to act for the Congress to decide on legislation to curb the separation of immigrant children from parents in detention. Such a provision is already added, a compromise the GOP immigration measure between the party, the conservatives and the moderates, and similar language was expected to be an alternative bill favored by conservative members. The house is expected to vote on both bills this week.
“Certainly, it is the beginning of the dissolution of the democracy, if the body is who makes the laws, instead of changing you, says the enforcement is not to enforce the law,” Nielsen said. “I urge Congress to act this week so that we secure our borders and maintaining our humanitarian ideas.”
After Nielsen left the briefing room, White house press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump would refuse any attempt to end the separation of families, which is not part of a wider immigration reform.
“We want to fix the whole thing, we don’t want to Tinker with only one part of it,” said Sanders, who added that Trump the priorities, the financing of a border wall and tightening of the immigration laws, must also be met.
The current holding areas used to house separated children have drawn wide attention after journalists access to a Website on Sunday.
In McAllen, Texas, detention center, The Associated Press reported that hundreds of immigrant children were waiting in a row of cages, created of metal fences. A cage had 20 children inside. Water bottles, bags of chips and large foil sheets on the ceiling or scattered around the plant.
Nielsen, state attorney General Jeff Sessions and other members of the administration have insisted that the White house is simply the enforcement of immigration laws already on the books.
“The voices that criticize the loudest, that the enforcement of the current laws are those whose policies created, to the perpetrators of the crisis and its policy,” Nielsen said.
The policy is the outrage from the conservatives and Republicans as well as Democrats and liberals has drawn. The Rev. Franklin Graham, a longtime trump ally, called the policy “shameful.” Several religious groups have also pushed the practice and the former first lady, Laura Bush, called it “cruel” and “immoral” in a Washington Post opinion piece.
On Capitol Hill, of Michigan, Republican Rep. Fred Upton for an immediate end to this “ugly and inhuman practice called for,” adding, “It is never acceptable to use children as a bargaining chip in the political process.” And Kansas GOP sen. Pat Roberts said he was “against the separation of the parents as a deterrent against illegal immigration.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.