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Children are being forced away from their parents after entering the United States border. "Instead they were separated from their children & have received no update on their children since being detained".

Democrats, meanwhile, stepped up their opposition to the policy, describing it as "evil".

"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 Defence, which represents children in immigration court.

Speaking on the CBS news show "Face the Nation", Sunday morning, the Republican also said the numbers of children who have been separated so far might exceed the almost 2,000 figure earlier reported.

The government pays more than $1 billion a year to care for unaccompanied immigrant children, Sessions has said.

U.S. officials said on Friday that almost 2000 children were separated from adults at the border between mid-April and the end of May. But neither bill has much hope of securing enough support in the Republican-controlled Congress, let alone surviving Trump's veto pen.

Miller pushed the policy to fruition after March's increase in illegal immigration, which Trump touted as a top priority in his 2016 campaign.

Mrs. Trump's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham says the first lady believes "we need to be a country that follows all laws", but also one "that governs with heart". "Don't wait until after the election because you are going to lose!" he tweeted.

Immigration is one of the most divisive, hot-button crises plaguing the Trump administration. The children are held in government facilities, released to adult sponsors or placed in temporary foster care.

Merkel open to European Union migration reform, cautious on eurozone
Trudeau later said he reiterated to Trump that tariffs will harm industries and workers on both sides of the U.S. Trump focused his conversation with Macron on German trade for about 15 minutes in the one-hour meeting.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended her agency's role at the USA border with Mexico on Sunday, saying there was no family separation policy.

The debate over the "zero tolerance" policyhas escalated since it emerged that 1,995 minors were separated from 1,940 adults in just six weeks as they tried to enter the USA between official border crossings.

Democratic lawmakers joined hundreds of protesters outside an immigration detention facility in New Jersey on Sunday for a Father's Day demonstration against the Trump administration's practice of separating children from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

"What the President has discovered is this policy, which he put in place six weeks ago, is creating an uproar among the American people", Senator Van Hollen said in an interview in Brownsville, Texas.

The administration wants to send a message, said a Republican critic of the policy, "that if you cross the border with children, your children are going to be ripped away from you".

"That is traumatising to the children, who are innocent victims". Former first lady Laura Bush called the policy "cruel" and "immoral" and said "it breaks my heart". "It's zero tolerance. I don't think you have to justify it", former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said Sunday on ABC's "This Week". A bill authored by Senator Dianne Feinstein has attracted near universal support among the caucus, with several red-state Democrats committing to it on Sunday; only West Virginia's Joe Manchin remains on the fence.

"These children should not be a negotiating tool", he wrote on Twitter.

"They're criminals when they come across illegally and that's why they're getting separated".

An anonymous White House official told The Washington Post this week that Trump is hoping to use the harsh policy as leverage to force Democrats to cave to his other immigration demands, like funding a border wall and lessening the amount of people allowed to immigrate to the USA legally.