DHS: Most Illegals at Border Don't Meet Criteria to Enter US

Kirstjen Nielsen Homeland Security secretary

It did not elaborate on specific plans. Any parents who are prosecuted as a result will be separated from their children in the process.

"I think a conversation about compassion - that's predicated upon defending separating children from their families and putting children on military bases - is fundamentally flawed".

The Department of Homeland Security has limited space to house families that are kept together - only about 2,700 beds at three family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania.

"Originally, we were focused on border patrol support - but now, we've extended it". Another 4,300 were unaccompanied children.

Harris was very concerned with the policy of detaining parents, causing separation from their children.

Nielsen, who has led the agency since December, came under attack from Democratic senators days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said a "zero tolerance" policy toward people entering the country illegally could lead to more families being split up while parents are prosecuted.

But Nielsen also agreed with senators that more must be done to protect the children who either come to the U.S. without their parents or are separated from them. "If you are parent, or you're a single person or if you happen to have a family, if you cross between the ports of entry we will refer you for prosecution. You've broken USA law".

"Our policy is if you break the law, we will prosecute you", Nielsen said.

CNN Analyst Unleashes on DHS Sec Kirstjen Nielsen: 'Are You Trying to Be a Dystopian Disney Character?'

The children are transferred to the custody of Health and Human Services within 48 hours, she said. Nielsen then reminded her that US citizen parents are separated every day in the United States when those parents are arrested or sentenced to prison.

But she did not dispute criticism by Sen. "We owe it to these children to protect them".

"I could not agree with your concerns more, period", Nielsen said.

"I have not resigned", she said in response to reporters' questions as she left a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Tuesday, according to Politico.

"They know better than Congress", Nielsen told Ingraham.

The recently instituted Department of Homeland Security policy refers all people caught crossing the border illegally to prosecution.

"If they are criminal, they will serve a little bit of time and under a different court case we have to release them in six months back to the communities, the criminals".

"We have legal ways to do that, but it's not through asylum", she said.

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