Thousands of children are being separated by their parents before even reaching the Southern border, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
DHS Secretary Kirsjen Nielson told reporters on Monday that the "vast, vast majority" of children who head to the Southern border are not being separated by United States border security, but by their own parents and guardians.
"The vast majority, vast, vast majority of children who are in the care of H.H.S. right now — 10,000 of the 12,000 — were sent here alone by their parents," said Nielson. "That is when they were separated."
The secretary continued, "10,000 of those currently in custody were sent by their parents with strangers to undertake a completely dangerous and deadly travel alone," she said. "We now care for them. We have high standards. We give them meals, we give them education, we give them medical care. There is videos, there is TVs, I visited the detention centers myself."
It appears such figures were obtained by The Associated Press from the DHS last week:
Nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their families at the U.S. border over a six-week period during a crackdown on illegal entries, according to Department of Homeland Security figures obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
The figures show that 1,995 minors were separated from 1,940 adults from April 19 through May 31. The separations were not broken down by age, and included separations for illegal entry, immigration violations or possible criminal conduct by the adult.
President Donald Trump also tweeted the figure on Tuesday. "Of the 12,000 children, 10,000 are being sent by their parents on a very dangerous trip, and only 2000 are with their parents, many of whom have tried to enter our Country illegally on numerous occasions," he wrote.