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The Republican calls for a policy rethink follow the release of an audio recording appearing to capture the desperation and suffering of young migrant children separated from their mothers and fathers at the United States border.

Former first lady Laura Bush called out the administration's practices, comparing the children to those who were placed in kennels at Japanese internment camps during World War II. Obama added: "Sometimes truth transcends party".

The "zero tolerance" policy, which was introduced six weeks ago, has been slammed by critics including Mr Trump's wife, Slovenian-born first lady Melania Trump, who demanded he "govern with heart" in a rare mediation.

On Friday, U.S. officials said that about 2,000 children were separated from adults at the border between mid-April and the end of May. As a company, Microsoft has worked for over 20 years to combine technology with the rule of law to ensure that children who are refugees and immigrants can remain with their parents. With children detained for longer, HHS announced last week that it will build a "tent city" near El Paso, Texas, to handle the overflow.

But a defiant Trump has vowed America will not become a "migrant camp". She also wrote that it seems people on either side of the aisle seem to agree that the immigration system is flawed.

"I know she's not an American citizen", the aunt said of her niece.

Republicans on Capitol Hill frantically searched on Tuesday (June 19) for ways to end the administration's policy of separating families after illegal border crossings, ahead of a visit from President Donald Trump to discuss broader immigration legislation.

"Every human being with a sense of compassion and decency should be outraged", Clinton said.

Lawmakers have traveled to South Texas where hundreds of children separated from their parents are being held to speak out against the zero-tolerance policy. Children are not detained with their parents when those parents are facing a criminal charge, as per US protocol.

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Since Attorney-General Jeff Sessions announced the policy, almost 2,000 children have been taken away from their parents.

ProPublica has released a recording of children sobbing and wailing after being separated from their parents at the southern United States border. "They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people", Trump said at the time. "Instead of criticizing those of us who uphold our oaths by enforcing the laws Congress drafted, work with us to change them". Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. Her bill would prohibit the separation of migrant children from their parents, with exceptions for findings of child abuse or trafficking.

"The test of any nation is how we treat the most vulnerable among us", Clinton said.

He said that crime in Germany was up by over 10 per cent, but that German officials did not want to report the crimes since they allowed the migrants into their country.

In 2008, President George W. Bush focused on the problem of minors crossing the border without their parents and signed a law unanimously passed by Congress that called for such "unaccompanied minors" to be released into the "least restrictive setting".

Two-thirds of the country, 66 percent, opposes Trump's policy, according to a poll from Quinnipiac University. "We need borders, we need security, we need safety", Mr. Trump said.

But Trump blamed Democrats for not taking action on immigration.

Even though the statements suggest that the matter is an issue for Congress, Democratic lawmakers and others have pointed out that no law mandates the separation of children and parents at the border.

There is no US law requiring that the children of immigrants entering the country illegally be separated from their parents.