US President Donald Trump has defended the policy of detaining child migrants, saying the US will “not be a migrant camp”.
He was responding to criticism of inhumane conditions in border internment camps, where young children separated from their families are being kept in cages.
Speaking at the White House he blamed the Democrats, who hold no levers of power in government, for “obstructing” immigration reform and distanced himself from responsibility for the situation on the southern US border.
“If the Democrats would sit down instead of obstructing we would have something done very quickly,” he said. “We’re stuck with these horrible laws.”
Sky correspondent Mark Austin said Trump was trying to get a broader immigration policy, but said he may be forced to take action on the separation of families by escalating criticism.
Nearly 2,000 children have been taken from their parents since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a policy directing Homeland Security officials to refer all cases of illegal entry into the US for prosecution.
US law states that children cannot be jailed so they are sent to these shelters while their parents await federal court proceedings.
It is reported that lights are kept on 24 hours a day in the holding facilities, which are divided into sections for unaccompanied children, adults and families.
There are no toys or books for the child inmates and photographs show children sleeping under foil blankets of the kind normally used in natural disasters.
Stories have spread of parents being told their children were going for bath, only for them not to be returned to them. It is then nearly impossible for the parents to find out where their children have gone.