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

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

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Tuesday defended an agency policy that will result in more families being separated at the border, saying, under a barrage of questions at a Senate hearing, that similar separations happen in the USA "every day".

The Health and Human Services Department is considering housing at military bases those children picked up crossing the USA border illegally either alone or after being separated from their parents by the government, according to two US officials.

Harris was very concerned with the policy of detaining parents, causing separation from their children.

Asked why she is separating families, Nielsen said her decision "has been that anyone who breaks the law will be prosecuted".

"They know if they cross between the ports of entry nothing will happen", she said.

Nielsen told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that her agency and HHS have procedures aimed at making sure the people caring for the children are not criminals.

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When an illegal alien is arrested crossing the border with a child, Harris said she worries "they will be separated from their parent". "You've broken US law".

"Well, it is the law", Nielsen said.

The Trump administration last month testified it lost track of 20% - or almost 1,500 children - of the undocumented minors that had been in its custody over a three-month period at the end of 2017. If they're other than Mexican we can put them in expedited removal if they are children involved.

Health and Human Services, which oversees about 100 shelters in 14 states for children who are caught at the border, said in a statement that it routinely evaluates additional locations for temporary housing.

"I think a conversation about compassion - that's predicated upon defending separating children from their families and putting children on military bases - is fundamentally flawed".

"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.

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