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  1. ITV Report

President Trump hits back in row over immigration saying US will not be a 'migrant camp'

  • Video report by ITV News Washington Correspondent Robert Moore

President Donald Trump has again hit out in the escalating political crisis over the forced separation of migrant children and parents at the US-Mexico border.

At a press conference on Monday, Trump made his administration's position clear.

“The United States will not be a migrant camp, it will not be a refugee holding facility. You look at what is happening in Europe, in other places, we can’t allow that to happen to the United States. Not on my watch."

"We want safety and we want security for our country.”

A Mexican girl holds on to her mother as they wait with other families to request political asylum in the United States. Credit: AP

Democrats have turned up the pressure over the policy, and some Republicans have joined the chorus of criticism.

Former first lady Laura Bush has called the policy “cruel” and “immoral” while GOP Sen Susan Collins expressed concern about it and a former adviser to Mr Trump questioned using the policy to pressure Democrats on immigration legislation.

President Trump continued to cast blame on Democrats, tweeting: “Why don’t the Democrats give us the votes to fix the world’s worst immigration laws? Where is the outcry for the killings and crime being caused by gangs and thugs, including MS-13, coming into our country illegally?”

Former first lady Laura Bush has penned a scathing column against President Trump's immigration policy. Credit: AP

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen refused to apologise for enforcing immigration laws that result in the separation of children from their parents.

Speaking at a meeting of the National Sheriffs’ Association in New Orleans, she rejected criticism accusing DHS of inhuman and immoral actions.

“We are doing none of those things. We are enforcing the laws passed by Congress,” she said, calling on Congress to reform immigration laws.

Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period in April and May after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new “zero-tolerance” policy that refers all cases of illegal entry for criminal prosecution.

US protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime and the parents are.