Jeff Sessions on Separating Families: 'We Never Really Intended to Do That'

Chris Olson of Lake Wallenpaupack Pa. holds a sign outside Lackawanna College where U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions spoke on immigration policy and law enforcement actions in Scranton Pa. The Trump administration

As recently as Monday, Sessions went on the offensive again, warning prospective immigrants that they faced harsh treatment should they try to cross the southern border with their children. Sessions is a member of a Methodist church in Mobile, Alabama, and attends services at another Methodist church in Virginia. They are processed through what is essentially church court within the Methodist community. "Our federal government is causing a situation that is creating a host of potential health consequences for an entire category of people".

The Reverend David Wright, who organized the charges against Sessions told Newsweek Tuesday the church's actions were "very, very rare". "Anglo-American history", Sessions said, pumping his right fist at the phrase "Anglo-American".

"We will have a system where those who need to apply for asylum can do so and those who want to come to this country will apply legally", he said. "That would be a tragedy".

An unexpected voice entered the fray when a coalition of United Methodist clergy and lay members offered their own rebuke of the attorney general, a fellow member.

"In the 50 years of the United Methodist Church as a denomination, I am not aware of any case that moved beyond those initial stages", Lawrence said. Most often, church trials in recent years have been used for pastors who break church rules by officiating at same-sex weddings.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not throwing in the towel, however.

Prior to Trump assuming the role of president, anyone who brought a child with them across the border was given "immunity from prosecution".

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"I have given the idea of immigration much thought and have considered the arguments of our church leaders", Sessions continued. "I just simply said to my Christian friends, you know the United States has laws and I believe that Paul was clear in Romans that we should try to follow the laws of government of which we are a part". He is charged under charge law with child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and "dissemination of doctrines contrary to the standards of doctrine of the United Methodist Church".

On the last charge, the complaint accuses Sessions of "misuse of Romans 13 to indicate the necessity of obedience to secular law".

In an interview with CBN News released Thursday, Sessions said he had not anticipated the massive public backlash from the administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy that he announced in April.

Families Belong Together organizes rallies and vigils in cities across the country to protest against the Trump administration's "tearing apart" of migrant families.

It was yet another phase of Mr. Sessions' unpredictable tenure, in which he has regularly been at odds with President Donald Trump, his former Senate GOP colleagues or both, even as he pursues a tough-on-crime agenda that is largely in line with many conservative goals.

Administration officials have flatly denied that characterization.

Sessions echoed Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's calls for Congress to change the nation's immigration laws.

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