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The debate surrounding immigration policy has intensified in recent weeks since the Trump administration announced its "zero tolerance" policy for illegal border crossings.

HHS is tasked with caring for "unaccompanied alien children", which by law is any minor that arrives at the border without parents or relatives, or for whom loved ones were not "available to provide care and physical custody".

The letter cites multiple instances where families seeking asylum were separated, despite the administration's assurances that wasn't the case.

He warned that Republicans "will lose the House and Trump will be impeached" if the House backs the new measure, according to Iowa Rep. Steve King, an immigration hard-liner who was in attendance. Jerry Nadler, live-tweeted their drama as they were stuck in the lobby of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in Elizabeth, N.J., trying to get in to speak with detainees. But he said he wouldn't support an immigration bill unless it also blocked employers from hiring immigrants who are in the USA illegally, eliminated "sanctuary cities" and ended family-based migration.

Senators Jeff Merkley of OR and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland led a group of Democratic lawmakers to a detention facility in Brownsville, Texas, on Sunday but were not allowed to talk with children held there.

At one point after a contentious exchange, a detention center employee taped pieces of paper to a window in front of her desk, blocking the Congress members' view. "We are still being denied access".

"We needed to see what was happening and tell the country and the world about it", she said.

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Conway also took the opportunity to argue that Democratic lawmakers will not approve funding that would expand the number of family detention centers.

But she added that "all laws" needed to be followed and called upon "both sides of the aisle" to "come together to achieve successful immigration reform". However, there is no law mandating the separation of families.

Representative Adam Schiff said the practice was "deeply unethical" and that Republicans' refusal to criticise Mr Trump represented a "sad degeneration" of the party, which he said had become "the party of lies". Republicans control every branch of government. Stop crossing the border illegally with your children. "It's that simple", said Sessions.

"The age of the child matters", Gunnar said.

However, there is no statute that requires children to be separated from their parents at the border.

Realizing the emotional resonance of the issue, House Republican leaders inserted a provision to block the Department of Homeland Security from separating parents and children in an immigration bill expected to be debated this week.

"I hate the children being taken away", he said Friday. "That's traumatizing to the children who are innocent victims, and it is contrary to our values in this country".

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Several White House officials have defended the USA stance on illegal border crossings.

In this March 6, 2018, photo, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway attends a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington. "Nobody likes seeing babies ripped from their mothers' arms, from their mothers' wombs, frankly, but we have to make sure that DHS' laws are understood through the soundbite culture that we live in".

Trump has said he wants the separations to end, but continues to blame opposition Democrats for the crisis, which critics say is one of his own making.

'The president is ready to get meaningful immigration reform across the board, ' Conway said on 'Meet the Press'.

"Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change!"

Despite Melania's caution about contradicting Donald in public, the immigrant children cases have definitely touched her heart and caused her to really think about her role as an immigrant.

"I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our global boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel", she wrote.

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