The UN humans rights chief issued his strongest denunciation yet regarding the separation of immigrant children from their parents at the US border and demanded that it stop immediately, reports the New York Times. "The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable," said Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights. He also made reference to the American Academy of Pediatrics' characterization of the issue as "government-sanctioned child abuse." Other developments on the issue:
- No such policy: Homeland Security chief Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted Sunday, "We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period." She elaborated: "For those seeking asylum at ports of entry, we have continued the policy from previous Administrations and will only separate if the child is in danger, there is no custodial relationship between 'family' members, or if the adult has broken a law."
- New defiance: It's that last "broken a law" part that has led to the separations. Under the administration's new zero-tolerance policy, the feds are prosecuting all adults caught illegally crossing the border, and thus any kids with them are being taken away. "Illegal actions have and must have consequences," Nielsen told the National Sheriffs' Association Monday, per ABC News. "We are enforcing the laws passed by Congress," she said, adding that agents shouldn't apologize for doing their jobs, reports the AP.
- Stephen Miller: On that zero-tolerance policy, Trump adviser Stephen Miller said it was a no-brainer: "It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero-tolerance policy for illegal entry, period," he told the New York Times. "The message is that no one is exempt from immigration law."
- Trump: The president continued to blame Democrats. "Why don't the Democrats give us the votes to fix the world's worst immigration laws?" he tweeted Monday. He also asserted that Germany is in chaos because of lax immigration rules, adding, "We don't want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!"
- Trump II: In yet more tweets, Trump claimed that "children are being used by some of the worst criminals on earth as a means to enter our country" and called crime south of the border "historic." And he lodged another familiar criticism: "It is the Democrats fault for being weak and ineffective with Boarder (sic) Security and Crime."
- Support: The Daily Beast commissioned a poll asking if people agreed with the following: "It is appropriate to separate undocumented immigrant parents from their children when they cross the border in order to discourage others from crossing the border illegally." Among Republicans, 46% agreed, more than Democrats (14%) and independents (29%).
- GOP critics: CNN rounds up Republicans who have criticized the separations. Anthony Scaramucci joined the group on Monday.
Laura Bush and Melania Trump spoke out on the issue
. (More Kirstjen Nielsen