DHS: About 2000 minors separated from families

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The official tally of separations is now almost 4,000 children, not including March and the beginning of April 2018.

As for reports suggesting US officials are turning away asylum seekers at the border and not allowing those travelers to make claims, the DHS officials told ABC News "That's not true at all, that has not happened".

The children are passed into the care of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

In a press call with reporters, DHS officials twice stated that they do not believe the account of Natalia Cornelio, a civil rights lawyer who told CNN that US officials "forcibly" separated an undocumented Honduran mother from her child, BuzzFeed News reported.

Government officials on the call did not go into detail about where the children are being held.

A DHS official refuted claims agents had separated a breastfeeding mother from her baby.

On Thursday, Sessions cited the Bible in defending the policy, arguing the recent criticisms were not "fair or logical and some are contrary to law".

"I would cite to you the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the goal of order", Sessions said to opponents of the policy.

Instead, all adults are now criminally prosecuted when caught crossing the border illegally. The process can take several weeks.

But prolonged separation and detention risks traumatizing children who are already fleeing nightmarish situations in their home countries, said Luis Zayas, a psychiatry professor at the University of Texas.


"And this administration has made it clear that we are not going to ignore the law any longer".

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans have struggled to craft a viable immigration plan - House Speaker Paul Ryan, who is the US Congress' highest-ranking Republican, said he is not comfortable with the approach that has been taken.

The United Nations has called on the U.S. to immediately halt the separations.

The bill, a compromise between moderates and conservatives, is expected to be voted on next week.

He told reporters at the White House on Friday: "I hate it".

People hold signs to protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order to detain children crossing the southern U.S. border and separating families outside of City Hall in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 7, 2018.

While Trump has transparent contempt for his Attorney General because he recused himself from the Russian Federation probe and put the President in jeopardy, the White House backed Sessions' invocation of religion for the immigration measures.

Democrats fired back, with top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi calling the Republican proposal "simply unworthy of America".

President Trump insists that the separation policy is the result of a Democratic Party law, but that's not true.

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