Separating families at border a 'moral crisis', says Hillary Clinton

US Border Patrol agents speak to suspected immigrants near the US-Mexico border in McAllen Texas

Immigration animated Trump's 2016 campaign and he has sought to make good on his hardline stance throughout his 17 months in office.

He tweeted: "We don't want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!" "Not on my watch". The president said his administration wants safety and security for the country.

The event in the city of Elizabeth on Sunday came as news stories highlighting the family separations intensified political pressure on the White House, even from some of President Donald Trump's fellow Republicans. "Where is the outcry for the killing and crime being caused by gangs and thugs, including MS-13, coming into our country illegally".

While the statement suggested the matter was an issue for Congress, Democratic lawmakers and others have pointed out that no law mandates the separation of children and parents at the border.

"What we're doing as a nation is inflicting enormous harm on these kids and on the parents when it's totally unnecessary during this time when they're waiting for their asylum hearing", said Sen. "She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws but also a country that governs with heart", a spokeswoman for the first lady said.

Almost 2,000 migrant children - 1,995 - were separated from 1,940 adults between April 19 and May 31, after being caught illegally crossing the border, a Department of Homeland Security official told reporters during a conference call Friday.

"We will be seeing as we have been seeing there's going to be a shift in that they still may be children, but they were probably accompanied by their parents when they were first entering the USA", said Luis Aranga of Catholic Charities.

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First lady Melania Trump issued a subtle rebuke to her husband's administration on Sunday, saying she "hates" seeing children separated from their families by immigration authorities.

The Baltimore Sun asked again whether he supported the policy of separating children from parents.

The Trump administration at least since April has been separating children and parents who enter the United States illegally at the border - that much is supported by the numbers. "It is immoral. And it breaks my heart", she wrote. "That's traumatising to the children who are innocent victims, and it is contrary to our values in this country". "The Democrats have to change their law - that's their law". "Not going to happen in the U.S".

In an op-ed, Bush spoke out forcefully against the Trump administration practice, comparing scenes of migrant children locked in cages away from their parents to the internment of Japanese-Americans during the second world war.

Trump has repeatedly called for the merit-based system to reduce overall immigration to the US. And he called for major changes to immigration laws.

The president has tried to blame Democrats, who hold no levers of power in the government today, for a situation that has sparked fury and a national debate over the moral implications of his hard-line approach to immigration enforcement.

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