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Go deeper: DHS’ Kirstjen Nielsen vs. the media on child separation

Photo: Olivier Douliery, Pool/Getty Images

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" border policy that criminally prosecutes every adult illegally crossing the border — a move that has separated almost 2,000 children from their parents — during remarks at the National Sheriffs' Association conference Monday morning.

The big picture: Nielsen said that Border Patrol officers are enforcing laws passed by Congress, adding that Americans shouldn't "believe the press" when it comes to the treatment of minors. (Enforcing the family separation policy is not a law and is solely the Trump administration's decision.) Commenting on the policy, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said, "If you don’t want your child separated, then don’t bring them across the border illegally."