"They can go to our ports of entry if they want to claim asylum".
Now, there is a backlog of some 600,000 cases, and many never show up for their hearings, instead disappearing into U.S. society.
An increasing number of people arrive with the help of human smugglers, well-coached to request "credible fear" asylum, and can not be turned back, according to administration officials.
Since children can not be sent to the facilities where their parents are held, they are separated from them. But that failed to affect arrivals.
As Sessions defended his "zero-tolerance" policy, the chanting group outside the NOLA convention center grew.
"Parents who entered illegally are, by definition, criminals", Nielsen said. "The Democrats can come to us as they actually are in all fairness, we are talking to them, and they can change the whole border security".
"Unfortunately, because we have an incredibly low standard for claiming credible fear as part of the asylum process, our generosity is being abused", she said.
Hundreds of children are being kept "in a series of cages" inside an "old warehouse in south Texas", The Guardian reports. They award contracts to licensed child-care providers to house them.
"For the 20 percent who truly need asylum, they are mired in the yearslong backlog and remain in limbo", she argued.
Second tornado confirmed in Northeast PA
Pictures from the area showed major damage to businesses, including flipped vehicles at a auto dealership and U-Haul facility. More details about the tornado including its intensity and an estimate of damage were set to be released later Thursday.
Is it policy or law?
Unauthorized border crossings have always been illegal, but previous administrations did not criminally prosecute all border-crossers. "The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law". When the parents are arrested on criminal charges, they must be separated from their children, as is the case with domestic criminal cases.
So some families were released in the USA before their immigration cases were heard.
Come with me: A US Border Patrol agent gestures to a young asylum seeker.
Maine Senator Susan Collins added that "we know from years of experience that we need to fix our immigration laws and that using children is not the answer".
What happens to the children? . The parents are taken into custody at a federal jail, while their children are put in the custody of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department.
He reiterated his strong opposition to those trying to illegally enter into the country through a porus border.
The website also includes a PDF flyer titled Next Steps for Families which details how a parent can locate their detained child, but doesn't supply any instructions on how to be reunited with the child.
He said the practice was "deeply unethical" and that Republicans' refusal to criticise Mr Trump represented a "sad degeneration" of the GOP, which he said had become "the party of lies".