Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday said that President Trump's administration "never really intended" to separate migrant families who cross the border without documentation.
Sessions told CBN News that he didn't feel he took "an extreme position," and defended his use of the Bible to justify detaining children away from their parents for an indefinite period of time. Sessions was criticized after he quoted scripture to explain why the family separations were absolutely necessary, saying the separations were simply a matter of enforcing the law, which the Bible condones.
"It hasn't been good and the American people don't like the idea that we are separating families,” Sessions said on CBN. "We never really intended to do that. What we intended to do, was to make sure that adults who bring children into the country are charged with the crime they have committed."
When Sessions first announced the zero-tolerance policy last month that would prosecute every adult who crossed the border illegally, he previewed the family separations. "If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child may be separated from you as required by law," he said in May. He later stood by his statements, saying that "it is very biblical to enforce the law."
He additionally defended the administration's current hard-line immigration policies, which will continue to detain families together rather than separate children. "It's not indefinite really," Sessions said of the detentions, "because we can't hold and we will not be holding people for extended periods of time awaiting a hearing on asylum." Read more from the interview at CBN News. Summer Meza