Sessions: Building a wall will end family separations at borderNew York Post
June 18, 2018
WASHINGTON - Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday that Congress could end the practice of separating children from their parents at the border if lawmakers give President Donald Trump his wall and new immigration legislation.
"We do not want to separate parents from their children," Sessions said Monday in defending his "zero tolerance" immigration policy. "If we build the wall, if we pass legislation to end the lawlessness, we won't face these terrible choices."
Speaking to the National Sheriffs' Association conference in New Orleans, Sessions said the practice of separating children from their parents is a result of Trump's actions to "end the lawlessness at our southern border."
Prior to Trump taking office, anyone who brought a child with them across the border was essentially "given immunity from prosecution."
"Word got out about this loophole, with predictable results," Sessions said. "The number of aliens illegally crossing with children between our ports of entry went from 14,000 to 75,000 - that's a five-fold increase - in just the last four years."
Sessions said that "we do not want to separate children from their parents" but that the Trump administration will no longer give adults a pass.
"But we do have a policy of prosecuting adults who flout our laws to come here illegally instead of waiting their turn or claiming asylum at any port of entry. We cannot and will not encourage people to bring children by giving them blanket immunity from our laws," Sessions said.
Trump has been demanding money from Congress to build a border wall with Mexico, despite his campaign pledge to have Mexico pay for it.
Trump will meet with GOP House members Tuesday evening to find a path forward on immigration, including closing the so-called loopholes that have been a magnet for migrants traveling to the border. The Trump administration had defended the policy of child separations and said it's on Congress to pass immigration reform legislation to fix the problem.
Critics say Trump's "zero tolerance" policy is being used as a bargaining chip for get money for the border wall.