Nielsen called a 2015 court settlement - dating back to a court ruling in 1997 that requires children not be detained longer than 20 days - a "historic get out of jail free practice of the past administration". Mazzie Hirono, who told MSNBC Neilsen and two other Trump aides should resign amid the crisis. "So, I have said that everything around him who have basically sold their souls to keep their jobs and lie for the President, I would welcome their resignations". "I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13, to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the goal of order", he said Thursday.
Harris' statement pointed to Nielsen's recent "lack of transparency" and "misleading statements" about the policy as cause for her to step down. "She's contradicting her President, she's contradicting her chief of staff, she's contradicting the attorney general and just making up these arguments as she goes".
Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat who is a potential presidential candidate, issued a blistering statement.
Nielsen said DHS and other law enforcement authorities are being asked "to look the other way when dealing with families at the border and not enforce the law passed by Congress".
Her at-times contradictory responses, The Washington Post says, "offered evidence that the administration - and perhaps Nielsen herself - was still struggling to formulate a message to counter critics who have accused the Trump White House of creating a humanitarian disaster".
The president however, does not appear to be backing away from the "zero tolerance" policy, after complaining for months about the country's practice of "catch and release" for immigrants crossing the border illegally.
Beijing Ready to Retaliate Against US Tariffs on Chinese Goods
But the White House maintains that any Chinese countermeasures would be unjust and could be met with further USA sanctions. In return, China said it will impose $3 billion worth of tariffs between 15 to 25 percent on 128 American goods.
"I want that burden to be so uncomfortable for so many of us that it forces us to act, it places the public pressure on those in positions of public trust and power to do the right thing for our country", O'Rourke, who is seeking to unseat Republican Senator Ted Cruz, said to applause.
Nielsen said agents shouldn't apologize for doing their jobs.
People participate in a protest against recent US immigration policy of separating children from their families when they enter the United States as undocumented immigrants, in front of a Homeland Security facility in Elizabeth, New Jersey on June 17, 2018.
"It is important to note that these minors are very well taken care of - don't believe the press - they are very well taken care of", Nielsen said. "We operate according to some of the highest standards in the country". We give them meals, we give them education, we give them medical care. There are videos, there are TVs. Many immigrants now coming across the border are fleeing rampant gang violence in Central America, and many of them are parents with children.
"These fixes would go a long way toward discouraging families from sending children on the harrowing journey to the US, resulting in fewer children in the hands of gangs such as MS-13 and more adults facing the consequences of their actions", she said.