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WATCH: 'The United States will not be a migrant camp' - President Trump stands firm over immigration policy

An unapologetic President Donald Trump has defended his administration's border-protection policies in the face of rising national outrage over the forced separation of migrant children from their parents.

Calling for tough action against illegal immigration, Mr Trump declared the US "will not be a migrant camp" on his watch.

Images of children held in fenced cages fuelled a growing chorus of condemnation from both political parties, former first ladies and national evangelical leaders.

The children are being held separately from parents who are being prosecuted under the administration's "zero-tolerance" policy for illegal border crossings.

"I say it's very strongly the Democrats' fault," Mr Trump said on Monday as his administration rejected criticism that the policy has resulted in inhuman and immoral conditions.

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