Gil Kerlikowske, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner from early 2014 to the end of Obama's term, said parents were split from their children if they were arrested - maybe on a drug charge - or had an outstanding warrant.
Hillary Clinton on Monday slammed the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" southern border policy that has left hundreds of children separated from their parents, calling it a "moral and humanitarian crisis".
The "zero tolerance" policy has led to the separation of nearly 2,000 children from their parents at the border over the past six weeks. "But now, it is the exclusive product of loopholes in our federal immigration laws that prevent illegal immigrant minors and family members from being detained and removed to their home countries", Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen told reporters at a White House news conference.
"Separating families is not mandated by law at all - that is an outright lie", Clinton said during remarks at an event in NY.
These are the Republicans and faith leaders who have spoken out, according to reports by The Oregonian/OregonLive's wire services, including the Washington Post, Tribune News Services and the Associated Press.
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No other country has such "sad, bad, and in many case so terrible and tough" immigration laws.
Antar Davidson, a former youth care worker for a shelter in Tucson, Arizona, compared the detention centers to jails for children.
According to the former prosecutors, the policy - which mandates the arrest of anyone caught entering the USA illegally - is a waste of dire resources as well, given the punishment for the misdemeanor offense of illegal border crossing is at most a year in prison. Susan Collins expressed concern about it and a former adviser to Trump questioned using the policy to pressure Democrats on immigration legislation. "It is immoral. And it breaks my heart".
Neither bill specifically deals with children separated from their parents, and the Trump administration pushed back against claims it had intentionally separated thousands of children from their parents at the U.S. -Mexico border amid accusations that it was using the children to force Congress to pass immigration reform.
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"Two-thirds of American voters oppose the family separation policy at our borders".
"I visited Thailand and witnessed firsthand the trauma of parents and children separated by circumstances beyond their control".
Children are being used by some of the worst criminals on earth as a means to enter our country.
The US action has sparked outrage at home from both Trump's Democratic foes and his fellow Republicans and around the world, as well as concerns from even First Lady Melania Trump. Polls have consistently shown that a large majority of Americans support allowing undocumented immigrants brought as children - the so-called Dreamers - to avoid deportation and eventually apply for citizenship.
Speaking at an awards lunch for the Women's Forum of New York, Clinton said what was happening to families at the U.S. -Mexico border is "horrific".
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Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said he wants to do away with a legal settlement that requires the government to release children from custody and to their parents, adult relatives or other caretakers, in order of preference. The secretary was asked to explain how the situation did not constitute child abuse.