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Border Patrol chief on zero tolerance: ‘I do agree that we need to do something’

Manuel Padilla Jr., the Border Patrol chief for the Rio Grande Valley, on Monday said in response to a question about the Trump administration's “zero tolerance” border policy that he agrees that action needs to be taken at the border.

Asked if he agreed with the immigration policy that results in migrant children being separated from their parents, Padilla said he agrees “we have to do something.”

“I do agree that we have to do something. We created this situation by not doing anything,” Padilla told CBS’s Gayle King.

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“What happens with zero tolerance is we were exempting a group, a population, from the law. And what happens when you do that? It creates a vacuum, it creates a draw for a certain group of people that rises to trends that become a crisis,” he added.

On Sunday, Padilla said the policy was meant as a deterrent against illegal border crossings.

“The zero tolerance policy is intended to deter people from breaking the law, adults. If they are accompanied by a child, that child is temporarily separated from them as they go through a judicial process,” Padilla said on Sunday, noting that the process is the same for a U.S. citizen parent going through the judicial process prosecuted for violating the law.

The zero tolerance policy is facing mounting criticism.

First lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: One week from Election Day | Biden looks to expand map | Trump trails narrowly in Florida, Arizona Melania Trump focuses on coronavirus in return to campaign trail Watch live: Melania Trump holds MAGA event MORE on Sunday said “both sides of the aisle” need to “come together to achieve successful immigration reform.”

Padilla told The Washington Post on Saturday that the numbers will continue to increase as Border Patrol works to ramp up its prosecutions of those who cross into the U.S. illegally.