The government said on Friday that 1,995 children were separated from 1,940 adults at the U.S. -Mexico border between April 19 and May 31, as the Trump administration implements stricter border enforcement policies.
"The full impact of policy initiatives are not fully realized for 2-3 weeks following public messaging - however, some migrants already underway may temporarily halt to determine the effects of the new policy", the document states.
The new figures tally people who tried to enter the USA between official border crossings.
Fact Check: There is no law that requires families at the border to be separated. "I think it is a awful law", Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said in May, adding that it's an issue that has "real bipartisan support" in Congress.
"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver became the latest in a line of political comedians to condemn Attorney General Jeff Sessions' "objectively awful" directives at the USA border with Mexico on Sunday.
"Our policies are discouraging people from making children endure that treacherous journey", Sessions said.
Amid the crackdown, the detained parents are "in jail settings", the official said, awaiting adjudication and possible prosecution for crossing the border.More news: Salman Khan is the 'worst Bollywood actor', according to Google
More news: Hillary Clinton masterfully mocks James Comey over his misuse of private email
More news: Giuliani: Trump not issuing Russia investigation pardons during probe
Asylum seekers who go directly to official crossings are not separated from their families, except in specific circumstances - such as if officials can not confirm the relationship between the minors and adults, if the safety of the children is in question, or if the adult is being prosecuted.
"While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety". But it is the immigration issue, with its heartrending stories of children being forcibly separated from parents, that seized the country.
Within 48 hours of being separated from their families, children are referred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement and placed in a shelter. We need a wall.
"Again, not a fucking law", he said, later explaining that "lots of things are said in the Bible but that doesn't mean you should do them", and noting that President Donald Trump is not exactly a paragon of biblical righteousness. "We keep them with a fox".
Immigration advocates have also criticized a recent move by Sessions that narrowed who can qualify for asylum in immigration court in the United States.