Donald Trump's administration has repeatedly denied that its policy is to separate children from their parents when they cross the U.S. border illegally. "We will not apologize for the job we do, or the job law enforcement does, or the job the American people expect us to do".
Ms. Nielsen also said the government will "not apologize" for enforcing the laws Congress wrote, which allow for criminal charges to be filed against people who jump the border illegally - and who can then be separated from their children when they're sent to jail.
In recent days, as national outcry over the family separation policy has reached a fever pitch, top Trump officials - including the president himself - have tried to pin the blame for the immigration crisis on Democrats.
"But this zero-tolerance policy is cruel".
John Moore/Getty ImagesA Honduran mother with her daughter shortly before they are separated at the US-Mexico border. "Has anyone been looking at the Crime taking place south of the border".
Trump's tirade went on so long that many present began fidgeting in their seats and flashing grimaces, White House aides said. The legislation wouldn't explicitly forbid the incarceration of children alongside their parents.More news: Audi CEO arrested in Germany over diesel scandal
"We have a statutory responsibility that we take seriously to protect alien children", she said. He, too, is considered a potential 2020 presidential contender.
The Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy at the border has been the focus of several dispatches from Border Patrol facilities in Texas where hundreds of migrants-many of them children-are being kept in a "series of cages created by metal fencing".
"If you cross the border illegally", she added, "if you make a false immigration claim, we will prosecute you. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our worldwide boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel", Bush wrote.
"I don't think we are going to do anything while he is holding children hostage", Klobucher declared. "Separating children from their parents should not be used as a deterrent". Mr Trump has derided that practice as "catch and release", arguing that numerous immigrants never appear for court proceedings.
No previous administration has interpreted this as requiring the separation of parents from their children, instead releasing families with court dates for immigration proceedings and various monitoring tactics.