‘We will not apologize:’ Homeland Security chief Nielsen defends immigration policy

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NEW ORLEANS — Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said officials will not apologize for enforcing immigration laws that result in the separation of children from their parents.

Nielsen spoke Monday at the National Sheriff’s Association conference in New Orleans.

“We will not apologize for the job we do or for the job law enforcement does for doing the job that the American people expect us to do,” she said. “Illegal actions have and must have consequences. No more free passes, no more get out of jail free cards.”

Last month, Homeland Security began referring all cases of illegal entry to the Justice Department for prosecution.

Nielsen said agents are not acting cruelly, but are enforcing the laws passed by Congress.

She said past administrations asked immigration agents to look the other way when families crossed the border illegally, but no longer.

President Donald Trump has been placing blame on his administration’s policy on Democrats.

“It is the Democrats fault for being weak and ineffective with Boarder Security and Crime. Tell them to start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration. Change the laws!” he tweeted Monday.

The policy has resulted in nearly 2,000 minors separated from their families over six weeks, and is drawing strong criticism from lawmakers from both parties and advocates who call the tactic inhumane.

Nielsen said agents shouldn’t apologize for doing their jobs.

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