Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tours a replacement border wall construction site on April 18, 2018, in Calexico, California.
Nielsen's unexpected appearance at the daily briefing capped days of harrowing coverage of the plight of at least 2,000 children who have been separated from their parents at the United States border.
In a speech at the meeting of National Sheriffs' Association in New Orleans, Nielsen drew rousing applause when she directed her remarks at "a selected few in the media, Congress and the advocacy community" whom she accused of mischaracterizing the Trump administration's border crackdown.
If Congress closes the loopholes that allows adult migrants to take advantage of the undocumented children's policy, then the families will be able to stay together throughout the proceedings, she agreed at the briefing.
Another FAQ section deals with questions including; "Why Are Parents Being Separated From Their Children?"; "Where Are Children Going?"; "What Happens to Children in HHS Custody?" Because of those fraudulent claims, Nielsen said, the United States faced a backlog with hundreds of thousands of cases.
"The Democrats are forcing the break up of families at the Border with their terrible and cruel legislative agenda", Mr Trump said on Twitter. "Congress and the courts created this problem and Congress alone can fix it". She goes right at the administration's critics: "We will not apologize for the job we do, or the job law enforcement does, or the job the American people expect us to do".
In other instances, pediatricians and child advocates have reported seeing toddlers crying inconsolably for their mothers at shelters where staff are prohibited from physically comforting them. How long would it take Trump to dump child separation if, say, Kim and Kanye made a direct personal appeal? "Period", Homeland Security Director Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted, despite countless tales of the Trump administration doing just that. "We have sworn to do this job", she said at the conference.
"It is important to know that these minors are very well taken care of".
Trump's deeply controversial plan has earned criticism from other Republicans as well - but most of the elected officials until Monday afternoon had been the Republicans who'd already shown a willingness to criticize Trump in the past, like Sens.
"Rather than taking responsibility for their actions, and some of them are, (like) the attorney general and the secretary of homeland security, . the president says, 'it's not my fault, I didn't do it, '" Pelosi continued.
The president however, does not appear to be backing away from the "zero tolerance" policy, after complaining for months about the country's practice of "catch and release" for immigrants crossing the border illegally.
Current asylum policy, Nielsen argued, was unfair and set up a magnet for migrant children to try to enter the country illegally.