On Sunday top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway distanced the Trump administration from responsibility for separating families at the border - even though the administration put in place and could easily end the policy.
An anonymous White House official told The Washington Post this week that Trump is hoping to use the harsh policy as leverage to force Democrats to cave to his other immigration demands, like funding a border wall and lessening the amount of people allowed to immigrate to the US legally.
"If the Democrats are serious, and if a lot of Republicans are serious, they'll come together", she said.
Maine Sen. Susan Collins added that "we know from years of experience that we need to fix our immigration laws and that using children is not the answer".
Sessions and officials from the Department of Homeland Security have defended the practice of separately detaining children and parents trying to cross the border, which has led to about 2,000 children being separated from their parents in the past 45 days.
Former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon said President Donald Trump doesn't need to "justify" the policy of separating children from parents who are caught illegally crossing the southern USA border because the it is part of the administration's "zero tolerance" approach on illegal immigration.
"As a mother, as a Catholic, as somebody who has a conscience". 'If he can't [acknowledge] that, I'll go tell him 'if you don't like families being supported, you can tell DHS to stop doing it'.
In the USA asylum seekers have watched helplessly as their children have been taken away from them under Donald Trump's new zero tolerance immigration policy.
Roughly 2,000 children have reportedly been separated from their parents so far, and authorities say the number could soon double. USA protocol prohibits detaining children with their parents because the children are not charged with a crime while the parents are. Previously, people who entered the country illegally and had no criminal record were detained or referred for deportation, and mothers and children usually remained together.
Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon bombastically returned to the spotlight and didn't mince any words in his appearance on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. Even evangelical supporters like Franklin Graham said its policy was "disgraceful".
Attorney General Jeff Sessions asserted that the administration's "zero tolerance" policy is somehow biblically mandated.
Speaking after visiting a processing center in McAllen, Texas, several Democrats expressed anger at the family separations and called on the Trump administration to change its policy.
He will meet with Republican colleagues on Tuesday to discuss both bills, which the White House has said he would be willing to sign. He called the situation "inhumane" and "un-American". Where Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush declined to prosecute adults with minor children, The New York Times reports that Trump advisors, including Stephen Miller, pushed for Trump to make fewer exceptions.
The Trump administration is also arguing that its zero-tolerance policy is a byproduct of a dysfunctional immigration system created by Democrats.