Speaking before law enforcement officers in Fort Wayne, Indiana Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended his immigration policy that is separating families at America’s southern border, saying having children does not grant immunity to those who cross illegally.
Sessions also claimed biblical support for the policy and implored those in the Evangelical community to reconsider their opposition to the splitting up of families.
"If you cross the Southwest border unlawfully, then the Department of Homeland Security will arrest you and the Department of Justice will prosecute you. That is what the law calls for — and that is what we are going to do," Sessions said. "Having children does not give you immunity from arrest and prosecution."
"Noncitizens who cross our borders unlawfully, between our ports of entry, with children are not an exception," the attorney general said. "They are the ones who broke the law, they are the ones who endangered their own children on their trek. The United States, on the other hand, goes to extraordinary lengths to protect them while the parents go through a short detention period."
Sessions’ policy has garnered negative press and even appears to be a step too far for some Evangelical leaders who otherwise support the Trump administration’s agenda.
[Rev. Franklin] Graham said this week that the administration's efforts that led to families being "ripped apart" were “disgraceful.”
In addition, several evangelical groups sent a letter to the White House this month, asking Trump to protect families at the border that were fleeing violence.
Sessions’ disputed "concerns raised by our church friends about separating families” in his Thursday remarks, finding support for his stance in the Bible:
"Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to 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 purpose of order," Sessions said. "Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful."