The Trump administration sparked severe criticism after announcing the draconian measure to prosecute members of immigrant families who enter the United States illegally — even if that meant separating children from their parents.
Despite the massive backlash, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the cruel practice of ripping apart immigrant families during a recent interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.
When asked if it was “absolutely necessary” to separate kids from parents when they are caught at the border, he replied, “Yes.”
“What's happening is we are having more people coming bringing children with them entering between the ports of entry, between the ports of entry illegally, and they're not, you cannot give them immunity. That's an offense,” the attorney general added. “We believe every person that enters the country illegally like that should be prosecuted.”
He also nonchalantly admitted the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers also take away infants and toddlers from their parents, putting them in the federal custody.
“Most are not infants. Most are teenagers, although we do have a number of younger ones now, more than we’ve seen recently,” the attorney general explained. “They are maintained in a very safe environment not by the law enforcement team at Homeland Security, but put with Health and Human Services. And they are kept close by, and if the person pleads guilty, they would be deported promptly, and they can take their children with them.”
When Hewitt called the practice “disturbing,” Sessions went on to blame the parents for bringing their kids to the country, completely ignoring the fact most of these asylum seekers risk their lives to flee gang war, poverty and violence in their homelands and make perilous journey to the U.S. without basic necessities available.
“If people don't want to be separated from their children, they should not bring them with them," he asserted. “We've got to get this message out. You're not given immunity. You have to, you will be prosecuted if you bring, if you come illegally. And if you bring children, you'll still be prosecuted.”
As the CBS News reported, between May 6 and May 19, the Trump administration separated 658 children from their parents while they faced legal proceedings.
Sessions’ appalling remarks came amid reports Border Patrol agents were running out of space to hold the children under custody, which is extremely troubling given how lightly the government officials appear to be taking the entire thing.
“The children will be taken care of – put into foster care or whatever,” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said last month, displaying the Trump administration’s lax attitude towards a blatant human rights violation.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Joshua Roberts