WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says officials will not apologize for enforcing immigration laws that result in the separation of children from their parents.
Nielsen was speaking Monday at the National Sheriff's Association conference in New Orleans. Last month, Homeland Security began referring all cases of illegal entry to the Justice Department for prosecution. Nielsen says agents are not acting cruelly, but are enforcing the laws passed by Congress. She says past administrations asked immigration agents to look the other way when families crossed the border illegally, but no longer.
The policy has resulted in nearly 2,000 minors separated from their families over six weeks, and is drawing strong criticism from lawmakers from both parties and advocates who call the tactic inhumane.
Nielsen says agents shouldn't apologize for doing their jobs.