Inasmuch the law that enables authorities to separate families crossing illegally into the United States has been in the books through Democratic and Republican administrations, it is President Trump's (and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions') "zero-tolerance policy" that has resulted in hundreds of children, some of them toddlers, being separated from their parents in heart-rending scenes that had outraged much of America and the world.
Adding to the drama is a President who's doubling down on defending the separation policy while also causing heartburn on the Hill, going back and forth about whether he would support one of the bills set to come to the floor this week, even though his own White House helped negotiate that very measure.
President Donald Trump repeated a false claim in a tweet Saturday that blames Democrats for the policy of separating immigrant parents from their children upon crossing the southern border between the USA and Mexico.
Former U.S. first lady Laura Bush speaks during a conference at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce June 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. "It is immoral. And it breaks my heart", Bush said on Twitter as she shared her column.
In a statement to CNN's Kate Bennett, Trump made her first public comments about the Justice Department's new "zero tolerance" policy towards illegal border-crossing, which has resulted in thousands of children being separated from their parents and placed in juvenile detention centers. "We will not apologize for the job we do or for the job law enforcement does", she said.
All four former first ladies have joined the current one, Melania Trump, in an unusual united political front expressing horror at children separated from their parents at the U.S. -Mexico border. Many have said the idea of separating children from their parents defies American and human values, as well as not needed when there are pilot programs that have shown that families with the right release conditions do show up for their court proceedings in the vast majority of cases.
In the five weeks from the announcement, more than 2,300 children were taken from their parents and adult relatives.More news: Focus on Harry Kane - England's captain and match-winner
Lawmakers fan out across the country to hammer President Trump's zero tolerance immigration policy; William La Jeunesse reports from San Diego. We need border security. And they expanded access to immigration detention centers, where families were held with their children while they were awaiting immigration hearings. "Trump sent u out -he makes women mop up his mess", she wrote.
Democrats and some in Mr Trump's own Republican Party have admonished the administration for dividing almost 2,000 children from their parents between mid-April and the end of May.
Sessions responded to a Texan archbishop's criticism of the policy last week by citing a verse from the Book of Romans that says God ordained laws from the government "for the objective of order". "If you don't like that, then don't smuggle children over our border".
"We have a statutory responsibility that we take seriously to protect alien children", she said.
Trump's administration, therefore, has crafted a policy that leads to families being separated at the border by defining all adult border crossers as criminals.
As reporters questioned whether children were being adequately cared for and whether the policy constituted child abuse, Nielsen said that the DHS was merely enforcing policies and it was up to Congress to change the laws.
She also said that Congress can fix these problems.