Almost 2000 migrant children separated from their families at US-Mexico border

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Trump, who has made helping children the crux of her official "Be Best" platform as first lady, had yet to discuss the state of families and immigration, a topic that has been prominent in headlines for days. Even after Kelly stopped talking publicly about family separation, the Department of Homeland Security quietly tested the approach last summer in certain areas in Texas.

The policy has cracked Trump's usually united conservative base, with a wide array of religious leaders and groups denouncing it.

USA religious leaders have castigated the policy.

President Trump continued to blame Democrats.

"They're willing to risk harm to a child being traumatized, separated from a parent and sitting in federal detention by themselves, in order to reach a larger policy goal of deterrence", said Jennifer Podkul, director of policy at Kids in Need of Defence, which represents children in immigration court. In Texas, for example, Rep. Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic nominee for the Senate, is leading a Father's Day march to visit a just-opened tent camp in Tornillo for children taken from their parents. The figure is the only one released by the goverment.

Compromise in peril: House Republicans were poised to float two immigration plans, the more moderate of which would hit many of Trump's wishes (including $25 billion for border security) while ending the separation policy, reports the Hill. "The thinking in the building is to force people to the table". "The Democrats forced that law upon our nation".

"I hate the children being taken away", Trump said. Karl asked Bannon on Sunday about the widespread criticism of the family separation policy, including from religious leaders such as top evangelical Franklin Graham, a Trump supporter, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Catholic archbishop of NY. But senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway pushed back on that notion Sunday. "Families are the foundational element of our society and they must be able to stay together". "I don't see a reason to spend the money doing that", Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said in an interview Friday.

Stories of weeping children torn from the arms of their frightened parents have emerged since a "zero tolerance" policy on illegal entries was enforced, with all cases now being referred for criminal prosecution. "They never expected the bill to pass". It passed unanimously in Congress and was signed by Republican President George W. Bush. None of those laws or precedents mean that children must be taken away from their parents.

Discussions began nearly immediately after Trump took office about vastly expanding Operation Streamline, with nearly none of those limitations.

Sen. Susan Collins said she does not support the Trump administration's policy of separating children from their parents at the southern border. The policy is part of the Justice Department's clampdown on immigration.

"By and large, we are accepting almost all of the referrals that we get from our counterparts at DHS, we continue to work with the federal judiciary on practical solutions to differing caps that they have", said a Justice Department official.

Others have argued that the main benefit of the policy is deterrence.

New immigration legislation introduced by House Republicans Friday does nothing to change the policy. "And so he went to a zero tolerance policy", Bannon said. "What is more unsafe to a minor, the 4,000 mile journey to America, or the short-term detention of their parents?" The official tally of separations is now almost 4,000 children, not including March and the beginning of April 2018.