Since kids aren't charged with crimes, the department doesn't detain them with their parents.
Central American migrants traveling in the "Migrant Via Crucis" caravan are pictured as they head to El Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, on 29 April 2018.
Immigration advocates have also criticized a recent move by Sessions that narrowed who can qualify for asylum in immigration court in the United States.
Defending a policy that has provoked an outcry around the country and accusations of human rights violations, Sessions said the government is trying to halt a five-fold increase in the number of families illegally crossing the border in just four years.
The United Methodist Church has joined the fight against Attorney General Jeff Sessions "zero tolerance" policy that forces families to be separated at the border, calling it "antithetical to the teachings of Christ".
Fact Check: There is no law that requires families at the border to be separated.
With Trump's "zero tolerance" policy in place, we've watched as almost 2,000 children have been removed from their homes and placed in short-term detention centers until they could be handed off to family members, close friends, and in some cases, loosely vetted individuals. "I think it is a disgusting law", Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said in May, adding that it's an issue that has "real bipartisan support" in Congress. The officials used the opportunity, otherwise on the condition of anonymity, to accuse the press of spreading falsehoods about the policy.
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request to provide a breakdown of the age of children separated from their parents and held in custody, but the official said they do not separate babies from adults. The bad blood between the Trump administration and media spilled over to an extended pow-wow the President had on Friday morning on the White House lawns, in course of which he claimed he too hated to see children being separated from their parents and blamed the Democrats for the law that allowed immigration officials to do it.
Crossing the border between official ports of entry is and has always been illegal, according to U.S. Code § 1325.
"I would cite to you 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 objective of order", Sessions said to opponents of the policy. He then went on to quote the scripture Romans 13, which he said commanded that people obey the law because God has "ordained the government for his purposes". There were more than 55 in April and a high of 64 in March, according to the figures.