The former US homeland security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, repeatedly defended her decision to separate thousands of children from their parents at the southern border, in her first public interview since she resigned in April.

At Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Woman summit in Washington DC on Tuesday, the PBS NewsHour correspondent Amna Nawaz asked Nielsen four times if she regretted signing off on the family separation policy, before Nielsen responded: “I don’t regret enforcing the law.

“What I do wish had worked better were the coordination and information flow were simply insufficient for that number of people coming,” she continued. “It’s heartbreaking that any family felt at any time that they had to cross the border illegally because it is a terrible, dangerous journey.”