Dem senator: Family separation is 'official kidnapping and child abuse'

US President Donald Trump is once again threatening a government shutdown unless Congress approves funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border

On Sunday, U.S President Donald Trump said that he would allow the federal government to shut down if Democrats refused to back his demand to build a wall at the Mexico border and other significant changes to immigration laws.

The separation of undocumented families under the Trump administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy is the result of a "deliberate" process that ultimately amounted to "official kidnapping and child abuse", Sen. "We do that through Congress", he said.

While Grassley and others anxious that deportees may not have made informed choices about leaving their children behind, the administration said the departing parents did exactly that.

In a letter, Sens.

"I'm disturbed by these allegations", said Grassley, the chairman of the committee. This is not a partisan issue as reporting suggests many have been occurring for years.

Jonathan D. White, the HHS official leading the administration's reunification effort, said that children who can not be returned to their parents will likely be released from custody to a close relative or another sponsor. "I'll always leave room for negotiation", Trump said when asked whether he would insist on getting all his immigration proposals before government funding runs out.

Two leading Democrats - Reps.

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As lawmakers grilled them at a congressional hearing Tuesday, Trump administration officials defended their efforts to reunite thousands of immigrant families that the government separated.

"As the deadline to reunite separated families has come and gone, the human cost of the Trump Administration's actions is becoming even more apparent", Vela said.

The detention of separated children, including infants, in cage-like enclosures set off a global outcry, and Trump last month ordered an end to the separations.

A news release from Vela stated that in recent weeks, Trump Administration officials "peddled a false narrative" claiming that numerous children entering the country were traveling, not with parents, but with human traffickers pretending to be parents in order to enter the country.

Trump said Monday at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte that the sanctions would not change despite the Russians' request. But of more than 2,500 children who were initially separated from parents and guardians, hundreds remain in federal custody including more than 400 whose parents left the US without them.

"Make no mistake, this is a crisis entirely of the Trump Administration's own making, and there is no one to blame for the abuse of these children but the White House", Vela said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and DHS' Nielsen implemented the policy in earnest in May.

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The Trump administration instituted a "zero tolerance" immigration enforcement policy in an effort to deter families trying to enter the country illegally.

CORRECTION: Jonathan White's title has been corrected in this story. "It is time that we reunite these children, and we must do so quickly".

"The family separation policy is more than a bureaucratic lapse in justice", he said.

But witnesses at the hearing - which was briefly disrupted when several dozen pro-immigration audience members staged a walkout at the outset - said they are only doing their jobs, enforcing the laws that Congress and the courts have put in place. "I don't think we're going to shut down the government", he said to Martha Raddatz on Sunday. "The trauma is from separating the child from the parent", Gelernt told CNN's "At This Hour" on Tuesday. "They have recreational opportunities, both structured as well as unstructured", said Matthew Albence, head of enforcement and removal operations for ICE.

-538 parents cleared and awaiting transportation. White said 429 kids who remain in custody - and 81 kids who've been released to other sponsors - have parents who are no longer in the United States.

-463 parents who may have been deported.

The judge didn't buy that explanation, pointing to testimony from children who said they were given pills "every morning and every night".

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-130 parents waived reunification.

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