Part of the recent outrage over government officials separating families of immigrants when they cross into the US, a practice that had already been garnering enormous criticism, stems from Sessions' use of the Bible to justify such inhumane actions.
Central American migrants traveling in the "Migrant Via Crucis" caravan are pictured as they head to El Chaparral border crossing in Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, on 29 April 2018.
Trump's opposition deals a body blow to efforts to tamp down the crisis at the border, where hundreds of families have been separated since last October, including many seeking asylum in the United States.
The officials on the call said the stricter standards would also apply to the initial screening process to determine whether immigrants crossing the border have a "credible fear" of returning to their home countries.
The families were all separated so the parents could be criminally prosecuted, said a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, who declined to be named, on a call with reporters.
But he also repeated the falsehood that Democrats, who are now in the minority in Congress, are responsible for a law that requires family separations.
The zero tolerance policy requested by Attorney General Jeff Sesion, Interior Security officers forwarding all cases of illegal entry to the country with accusations of ill-fated activities such as illegal entry into the country, violation of immigration laws and possible criminal behavior by an adult.
The policy has been widely criticized by church groups, politicians and children's advocates who say it is inhumane. As Congress pursues legislation to address this issue this week, an interim solution is needed.
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Some immigrant advocates have said women were being separated from their infants - a charge homeland security and justice department officials flatly denied.
The new figures tally people who tried to enter the US between official border crossings.
Critics of U.S. government policy which separates children their parents when they cross the border illegally from Mexico protest during a "Families Belong Together March", in downtown Los Angeles, California on June 14, 2018.
DHS officials also said they had "no choice" but to separate parents and children at the border.
There were an additional 38 minors separated at ports of entry from May up until June 6.
On Thursday, Sessions cited the Bible in defending his policy, arguing the recent criticisms were not 'fair or logical and some are contrary to law'. There were more than 55 in April and a high of 64 in March, according to the figures. He then went on to quote the scripture Romans 13, which he said commanded that people obey the law because God has "ordained the government for his purposes".