Kirstjen Nielsen, DHS secretary

DHS Chief Hits Back at 'Offensive' Questions at WH Briefing

Nearly 2000 minors split from parents at border in 6 weeks – US

Despite facing intense backlash for separating immigrant families at the border, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen refused to back down Monday.

Trump administration officials say the policy is meant to deter undocumented immigrants from making the trek to the U.S. border with their children.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of NY called Nielsen a "stone cold liar". "Period", Rep. Katherine Clark, also responding to Nielsen, echoed Monday morning. Eric Swalwell responded, "She knows we can check this, right?"

The Obama- era policy shielded young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the country as minors.

Lee and Jeffries joined Sens.

The delegation to McAllen, Texas, was led by Senators Jeff Merkley of OR and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.

Senator Merkley, who drew national attention to the separation policy two weeks ago when officials blocked him from entering the Walmart-turned-detention-center in Brownsville, made a return visit to the facility on Sunday.

The White House is now being blasted from all sides over the separation of families, including by prominent Republicans.

"This is about a bad policy folks have created".

"If you cross the border unlawfully. we will prosecute you", Sessions said at the time. According to this policy, the Department of Homeland Security will refer "100 percent of illegal Southwest Border crossings to the Department of Justice for prosecution".

Compounding Nielsen's false statement were reports that children separated at the border were being held in an old warehouse in south Texas, behind metal fencing that resembled cages. "Congress is the one that needs to fix this".

But the measure has been harshly denounced by activists, religious leaders, elected Democrats and Republicans alike. Former first lady Laura Bush said that as a resident of a border state, she appreciates the need to protect the nation's boundaries.

"I live in a border state".

In May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned the administration was enforcing a "zero tolerance" policy on immigration. "It is immoral. And it breaks my heart".

Nielsen's portion of the briefing was a 20-minute bloodbath, in which reporters pummeled her with questions about the policy that she defended over the weekend, before denying its existence.

"I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our worldwide boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel", she said.

On Twitter, Trump addressed what he specifically wants in new legislation including "full funding for the Wall;" an end to a diversity visa lottery and certain categories of family-based migration; and a shift toward "merit based immigration" for skilled workers. "Go for it! WIN!"

But controversy over DHS treatment of families continues to heat up. However, one person took it a step further.

"I hate the children being taken away", he said Friday. "That is traumatizing to the children, who are innocent victims".

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