Melania Trump says US should govern 'with heart' in enforcing immigration law

Border crossers

Mr Trump has claimed he hates the idea of separating children from the parents who try to enter the country, and has repeatedly blamed Democrats for the law, but the administration has acknowledged that crackdown on the families could serve as a deterrent.

"What the administration has made a decision to do is to separate children from their parents to try to send a message that if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you", Collins said, on CBS' Face The Nation.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, also has been critical of separating migrant families at the border, calling it "terrible" and "inhumane". Almost 2,000 migrant children - 1,995 - were separated from 1,940 adults between April 19 and May 31, after being caught illegally crossing the border, a Department of Homeland Security official told reporters during a conference call Friday.

House Republican leaders are offering two immigration measures - a hard-line draft and written legislation billed as a compromise between the moderate and conservative factions of the party. "You need 60 votes".

Trump administration officials have argued that the policy is in place because Democrats won't agree to negotiate stricter immigration laws.

The politics of the immigration debate have grown more heated since the administration adopted a "zero tolerance" approach at the Southern border.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders cited the Bible to defend a border policy that has separated children from their parents.

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On Sunday, Democratic members of Congress paid a "surprise Father's Day visit" to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centre in New Jersey, demanding to see detainees separated from their children.

Friday, too, the government announced that 2,000 children had been placed in detention during a six-week period. Once children are separated, they are treated as unaccompanied minors under the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, which houses them in government facilities, puts them in temporary foster care, or releases them to adult sponsors in the United States. Where Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush declined to prosecute adults with minor children, The New York Times reports that Trump advisors, including Stephen Miller, pushed for Trump to make fewer exceptions.

Migrant children separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border are being housed in tents. Meanwhile, Trump administration officials alternately took credit and sought to distance the administration from the family separation policy. The Department of Homeland Security said Friday that almost 2,000 children have been placed into shelters over a six-week period. "We need to fix our immigration laws, and using children is not the answer".

She called on Congress to simultaneously address Trump's border wall and the fate of the young immigrants left in limbo after the president rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

"Nobody likes" breaking up families and "seeing babies ripped from their mothers' arms", said Kellyanne Conway, a counsellor to the president.

In 2005, he launched Operation Streamline, a program along a stretch of the border in Texas that referred all unlawful entrants for criminal prosecution, imprisoning them and expediting assembly-line-style trials geared toward quickly deporting them. "I'm sure you love your children". "I'll meet them at the White House today because I think that is a disgrace".

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