Published: Mon, June 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

DHS: About 2,000 minors separated from families

DHS: About 2,000 minors separated from families

By COLLEEN LONG, Associated Press - Nearly 2,000 minors have been separated from their families at the USA border over a six-week period during a crackdown on illegal entries, according to Department of Homeland Security figures obtained by The Associated Press.

DHS said between April 19 and May 31, there were 1,995 children separated from 1,940 adults at the southwest border.

The figures included separations for illegal entry, immigration violations, or possible criminal conduct by the adult, and they took place during a crackdown on illegal entries.

The new controversial procedure, implemented by the Trump administration, is part of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' self-described "zero tolerance" policy aimed at further limiting illegal entries into the U.S.

The call was largely to defend the administration's decision to charge every adult caught crossing the border illegally with federal crimes, as opposed to referring those with children mainly to immigration courts, as previous administrations did.

Sessions announced the effort on 6 April, and homeland security began stepping up referrals in early May, effectively putting the policy into action.

Sanders was ridiculed on social media for her Biblical assertion, with critics citing various passages that call for humane treatment of people, particularly children, and some tweets cheekily asking what the Bible said about adultery.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions discusses a new Justice Department initiative on religious liberty during an event at the Orthodox Union Advocacy Center's Annual Leadership Mission to DC in Washington, U.S., June 13, 2018. He says the children must be separated from their families because they can't go to jail with them. A quotation from former president Barack Obama is written on a wall in the Casa Padre centre in Brownsville, Texas. The UN has called on the U.S. to immediately halt the separations, the BBC reported.

What do we know about the children?

"Our policy that can result in short-term separation of families is not unusual or unjustified", he added.

The Bible verse was once used to justify U.S. slavery, said critics. "Everything the "open borders lobby" is doing is encouraging that and endangering these children". But it is the immigration issue, with its heartrending stories of children being forcibly separated from parents, that seized the country.

"We are unable to keep families in a detention setting together for an extended period", the DHS official said, noting that nowhere else in the United States are law enforcement agencies expected to detain children with their parents.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also condemned the policy on Wednesday.

Franklin Graham, son of late reverend Billy Graham and a staunch Trump supporter, said the separation policy was "disgraceful".

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