After justifying the Trump administration’s contentious zero-tolerance policy with a Bible passage, Jeff Sessions now says it was never the government’s plan to take children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The Justice Department head acknowledged on Thursday that the immigration crackdown backfired.
“It hasn’t been good,” the U.S. attorney general told the Christian Broadcasting Network on Thursday.
“The American people don’t like the idea that we’re separating families,” Sessions said. “We never really intended to do that.”
He claims the feds were only trying to punish adults for bringing children into the country “instead of giving that special group of adults immunity from prosecution,” Sessions said. He previously described the policy as a deterrence to prevent illegal border crossings.
In spite of Sessions’ attempt to back-track on the policy, he fails to say those adults, in some cases, were parents and fleeing gang violence in Central America with their children — only to have their babies, toddlers and teens snatched by Border Patrol agents as they reached U.S. soil.
Kids of all ages were placed into quickly filling shelters in Texas, or shuttled hundreds of miles away to facilities in at least 13 states with facilities to house migrant children as the administration struggled to find room for all of them.
Since late 2017, those shelters have raked in nearly $1 billion in federal grants to care for the growing number of migrant kids — the latest bunch classified as unaccompanied children without their families.
Sessions defended Trump’s executive order barring children from being separated from their detained families in the future as the “right thing,” according to the network.
“We’ll work our way through it and try to do it in the most compassionate way possible,” he added.