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On new immigration policy, White House says it has a “duty to protect Americans”

Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen said, “”DHS (Department of Homeland Security) is not separating families legitimately seeking asylum at ports of entry. If an adult enters at a port of entry and claims asylum, they will not face prosecution for illegal entry. They have not committed a crime by coming to the port of entry. DHS does have a responsibility to protect minors and in that case as well we will only separate the family if we cannot determine there is a familial relationship, if the child may be at risk with the parent or legal guardian or the parent or legal guardian is referred for prosecution. We have a duty to protect the American people and it’s one that I take very seriously. Here is the bottom line. DHS is no longer ignoring the law. We are enforcing the laws as they exist on the books.”

She further added, “As long as illegal entry remains a criminal offense, DHS will not look the other way.”

Earlier U.S. President Donald Trump said that the United States would not be a “migrant camp,” as he blamed Democrats for not coming to the table to negotiate immigration legislation.

Trump, whose administration faces heavy pressure to stop separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, was speaking at the White before opening a meeting of the National Space Council.

The family separations are the result of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy in which all those apprehended entering the United States illegally, including those seeking asylum, are criminally charged.

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