In a speech at the National Sheriff’s Association meeting in New Orleans, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen laid out the Trump administration's policy that if you enter the United States illegally, you will be prosecuted.
"We have to do our job. We will not apologize for doing our job," she said. "This administration has a simple message — If you cross the border illegally, we will prosecute you."
"We will not apologize for the job we do or for the job law enforcement does for doing the job that the American people expect us to do," Nielsen said. "Illegal actions have and must have consequences. No more free passes, no more get out of jail free cards."
President Trump tweeted Monday that children "are being used by some of the worst criminals on earth" as a way to enter the United States."Has anyone been looking at the Crime taking place south of the border? Historic!"
"We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period," Nielsen tweeted Sunday. "For those seeking asylum at ports of entry, we have continued the policy from previous administrations and will only separate if the child is in danger, there is no custodial relationship between 'family' members, or if the adult has broken a law."
"As I have said many times before, if you are seeking asylum for your family, there is no reason to break the law and illegally cross between ports of entry," she also tweeted.
"We are a compassionate country that has taken in millions of refugees... from all over the world. Each year we admit more... than all other countries combined," Nielsen said Monday.
"It is important to note that these minors are very well taken care of. Don’t believe the press. They are very well taken care of. You know this, as many of you have detention facilities of your own," said Nielsen to the sheriffs. "We operate according to some of the highest standards in the country. We provide food, medical, education and all needs that the child requests."
We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) June 17, 2018