Homeland Security boss defends separating immigrant families

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Homeland Security boss defends separating immigrant families
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testifies to the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the Homeland Security Department is defending the Trump administration’s method of separating children from their parents when the family is being prosecuted for entering the U.S. illegally.

Kirstjen Nielsen told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday that separating children from parents who have been accused of a crime happens “every day in the United States of America.”

Under questioning from Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California, Nielsen says her department was not taking children from parents as a way to deter illegal immigration. She says it’s based on her decision that anyone who breaks the law will be prosecuted.

Nielsen says her department holds such children for 48 hours and turns them over to the Department of Health and Human Services.