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He added, "If you don't like that, then don't smuggle children over our border".

He has consistently blamed Democrats for the impasse, even though his fellow Republicans control both chambers in Congress. Democrats have accused the president of using children as hostages in the political dispute over immigration.

TRUMP: "The Democrats forced that law upon our nation". His administration put the practice in place and could easily end it.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivers remarks on immigration and law enforcement actions on at Lackawanna College June 15, 2018 in Scranton, Pennsylvania. "Where is the outcry for the killing and crime being caused by gangs and thugs, including MS-13, coming into our country illegally".

ProPublica caught up with the USA -based aunt - herself seeking asylum in the country - who confirmed that the little girl's family paid $7,000 to a guide to smuggle them into Mexico and then the U.S.

The policy was announced April 6 and went into effect in May.

Politicians and advocates flocked to the border to visit immigration detention centers and turn up the pressure on the administration. Steve Bannon argued that effort risked alienating Trump's political base and contributing to election losses in November, when Republicans hope to preserve their congressional majorities.

In a Father's Day demonstration on Sunday, seven Democrat members of Congress from NY and New Jersey joined hundreds of protesters outside an immigration detention facility in New Jersey to protest the separations.

In the six weeks between April 19 and May 31, the Department of Homeland Security has sent almost 2,000 children to mass detention centers or foster care.

The signs of splintering of GOP support come after longtime Trump ally, the Rev. Franklin Graham, called the policy "disgraceful". Former first lady Laura Bush called the policy "cruel" and "immoral" and said "it breaks my heart".

Conway and Schiff appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press", Collins was on CBS' "Face the Nation", Lujan and Bannon spoke on ABC's "This Week", and Scaramucci was on Fox 11 in Los Angeles. Religious groups, including some conservative ones, are protesting. "They call it 'zero tolerance, ' but a better name for it is zero humanity, and there's zero logic to this policy", said Senator Jeff Merkley of OR, after leading a group of Democratic lawmakers to the Mexican border.

She said answers offered by Democrats - releasing the families into the community, where majority are unlikely to show up when it comes time for their hearings or deportation - amounts to to "open borders".

House Republican leaders are reworking their "compromise" immigration bill to include a provision that modifies - but doesn't completely end - the "zero tolerance" policy being enforced now by the Trump administration. These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in USA history.

The former first lady zeroed in on Trump's repeated false claims that legislation passed by Democrats is to blame for the policy his administration is enforcing.

"We want safety and we want security for our country", Trump said Monday, playing defense.

Trump has sought to use the widespread outrage over the family separations to push through other immigration priorities that have stalled in Congress, such as funding for his long-promised wall along the Mexican border.

"Zero tolerance, it's a crime to come across illegally, and children get separated".

President Trump is addressing House GOP lawmakers at a meeting on immigration legislation on Tuesday evening. "Not on my watch", he said. In the past, cases were largely dealt with in civil proceedings, allowing families to remain together while waiting for their cases to be heard.