U.S. President Donald Trump accused immigrants in Europe of "violently" changing the culture on Monday and said people should be wary of the same thing happening in the United States, as his administration faced heavy pressure to stop separating children from their parents at the U.S. -Mexico border. Her spokeswoman says that Mrs. Trump believes "we need to be a country that follows all laws", but also one "that governs with heart".
The separation policy follows Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement on April 6 of a "zero-tolerance" immigration policy that includes criminally prosecuting illegal border-crossers, thus separating them from children who under USA law can not be held in criminal detention centers.
The detained children resulted from the policy, in which immigrants apprehended entering the United States illegally are criminally charged under the criminal entry statute, known as 1325.
Trump is to meet with House Republicans on Tuesday to discuss immigration legislation.
Republicans in Congress were tentatively planning to offer two bills this week, one that would sharply curtail legal immigration and a compromise measure, as yet not revealed, that could draw criticism from conservatives. "The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law", said White House adviser Stephen Miller in an interview published Saturday in The New York Times.
She, too, blames the Democrats, saying if there are serious about overhauling the system, 'they'll come together again and try to close these loopholes and get real immigration reform'.
Trump has sought to blame Democrats for the family separations, but Pelosi says the "blame for every mistreated child, heartbroken mother and father and broken family rests squarely on the President, and only he can end the trauma". "These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese-American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history".
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"They're willing to risk harm to a child being traumatized, separated from a parent and sitting in federal detention by themselves, in order to reach a larger policy goal of deterrence", said Jennifer Podkul, director of policy at Kids in Need of Defense, which represents children in immigration court.
Collins said she favors tighter border security, but also expressed concerns about the family separation policy. Republicans announced that they planned to vote next week on a pair of immigration bills, but Democrats have indicated they are solidly opposed to both of those proposals.
When the family separation policy was announced last month, White House chief of staff John Kelly told NPR, "They're not bad people". "The test of any nation is how we treat the most vulnerable among us".
Though everyone agrees that the USA immigration system "isn't working", she says, "the injustice of zero tolerance is not the answer".
Ms Nielsen said that releasing parents with their children amounts to a "get out of jail free card" policy for those in the country illegally.
The situation now is "inhumane" and "un-American", he said.
Since Trump's inauguration, the administration has issued at least half a dozen orders and changes affecting immigrant children, many of them obscure revisions.