Trump suggests separation of families at border is a negotiating tool

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"The policy now being enacted where children are being separated from their parents even when they're applying for asylum, we want that to stop", said Acosta. The CBC's Wendy Mesley speaks with Natalia Cornelio, director of criminal justice reform for Texas Civil Rights Project, about the stories she's hearing from parents. "I certainly don't want anybody to use these kids as leverage", she said. Some mothers say they were told their children were being taken for a bath, but were never returned.

Trump's spokeswoman Sarah Sanders too argued that "it is very Biblical to enforce the law", as both the immigration issue and the arguments between the media and the administration over it became increasingly fractious.

In another attack on immigrants, Sessions announced this week that adults coming to the USA who are either survivors of domestic violence or escaping gang violence will not be eligible to seek asylum in the U.S. The asylum-seekers were then sent to a customs processing centre for possible separation.

Some senior officials think Democrats will be pressured by the policy to cut an immigration deal.

Several Democratic lawmakers, including Senators Jeff Merkley of OR and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, are traveling to the Rio Grande Valley area in Texas on Sunday to meet with US border authorities and tour a former Walmart Inc. store that's been converted into a detention center for almost 1,500 immigrant boys. Where once undocumented immigrants caught at the border would have been taken to a detention centre before facing an immigration judge, they were now to be prosecuted in the criminal courts. Trump wrote in a tweet. Stop crossing the border illegally with your children. Apply to enter lawfully.

Immigration on the southwest border has remained high since the zero-tolerance policies took effect.

In addition to those trying to cross on their own, large crowds of immigrants are gathered at border crossings each day to seek asylum. First lady Melania Trump, in a rare foray into policy matters, said Sunday though a spokeswoman that the USA must be a country that "governs with heart".

As many as 1,995 children have been pulled from their parents' arms this year when they arrived at the U.S.'s southern border seeking help, according to NPR. These Americans will have the opportunity in November to throw out politicians who cheer the monstrous policy of child separation. However, among all of the mind-numbingly bad things the GOP has countenanced, none comes close to the family separation policy. Almost 60,000 children were placed in government-contracted shelters in the 2014 fiscal year.

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Amid an outcry over the detention of children - some 1,500 boys are being held in a former Walmart supermarket in Texas - a DHS official insisted that the minors were enjoying decent conditions. Most have been teenagers who've come by themselves, but now, more young children are coming with their parents.

The government pays more than $1 billion a year to care for unaccompanied immigrant children, Sessions has said.

In May 2014, the average length of stay for children in custody was 35 days.

At this point, O'Rourke is directing his ire primarily at the administration, but he should not be shy about pointing the finger directly at his opponent, who slavishly supports every move the administration makes and has consistently opposed immigration solutions that would have overwhelming bipartisan support.

"We have some of the highest detention standards in the world for children", he said.

US religious leaders have castigated the policy.

"Look six months out from now", he said. If they can be held indefinitely, the logic goes, there will be less reason to separate them.

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