The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday denied the account of a migrant woman who said U.S. immigration officials separated her from her baby while she was breastfeeding after being detained for entering the United States illegally.
In a press call with reporters, DHS officials twice stated that they do not believe the account of Natalia Cornelio, a civil rights lawyer who told CNN that U.S. officials "forcibly" separated a Honduran mother from her child, BuzzFeed News reported.
"When she resisted having her daughter taken from her she said agents forcibly took her child and then placed her in handcuffs," Cornelio said, adding that the migrant woman was reportedly "sobbing" as guards detained the child.
DHS officials on the call said they believe Cornelio's account is "false," and that no documentation could be found to back up the story. The official, according to BuzzFeed, did not confirm whether an officer would be mandated to provide such details in any documentation.
"We do not separate breastfeeding children from their parents," the official added. "That does not exist. That is not a policy. That is not something that DHS does."
The Trump administration announced its "zero tolerance" policy early last month, stating that all migrants who are apprehended upon entering the country illegally would be prosecuted. Adults are separated from their children for prosecution, which has led to an influx of family separations resulting in thousands of migrant children being sent to detention facilities.
President TrumpDonald TrumpJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Overnight Energy & Environment — League of Conservation Voters — Climate summit chief says US needs to 'show progress' on environment Five takeaways from Arizona's audit results MORE has attempted to lay blame on Democrats for the widely denounced policy, but Senate Democrats have introduced legislation banning separating families at the border.
Cornelio did not respond to a request for comment from BuzzFeed about the official's statement.