Kirstjen Nielsen, DHS secretary

We will not apologize: Trump DHS chief defends immigration policy

During a White House briefing that followed days of wall-to-wall coverage of the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy at the border, the US Department of Homeland Security secretary denied claims that migrant children and their parents are being treated inhumanely at the border.

"Don't believe the press".

While DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen continued to falsely insist the new policy was not new policy on Monday afternoon, Republicans increasingly sounded increasingly skeptical of her misleading claims.

Nielsen has faced doubts from immigration hard-liners who question whether she is sufficiently committed to the administration's approach, which threatens criminal prosecution for anyone who crosses the border illegally.

While it's mostly been Democrats reacting to Nielsen's statement, some Republicans, including former First Lady Laura Bush, have publicly opposed the Trump administration's policy. "No more free passes, no more get out of jail free cards".

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On Fox & Friends Monday, the tweets were presented as an attempt to "clarify" the policy.

"We do not have the luxury of pretending that all individuals coming to this country as a family unit are, in fact, a family", she said.

As of Monday morning, though, Trump was back on Twitter himself and, though he didn't address Nielsen's comments directly, he did address the issue but in the most horrendous way, continuing to blame Democrats. Last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, "If you don't want your child to be separated, then don't bring them across the border illegally". According to Kathryn Shepherd, a lawyer for the Immigration Justice campaign at the American Immigration Council, these restrictions make it "nearly impossible" to be granted asylum.

Immigration advocates and Democrats say the administration has made it exceedingly hard to claim asylum at official ports of entry. CNN is looking into reports that these individuals are being turned away there, as well.

John Moore/Getty ImagesA Honduran mother with her daughter shortly before they are separated at the US-Mexico border.

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Is this the best way to handle families entering the US illegally, seeking asylum?

After that, Nielsen once again walked through the administration's wishlist for changing immigration laws - including targeting sanctuary city policies, changing the threshold for qualifying for asylum to be much higher, and reversing many protections for children allowing them to be detained for longer or deported immediately.

Nielsen echoed these points during her prepared remarks. She made her choice.

The United Nations office for human rights has condemned the forced separations as an "arbitrary and unlawful interference in family life", and "a serious violation of the rights of the child", and has called on the United States to "immediately halt" the practice. "It is time to fix it", Nielsen said.

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