'Think I'm gonna have to hand this off' - US TV host breaks down on air, cuts short broadcast while delivering news on migrant babies being sent to 'tender age' shelters

An American television host broke down and cried on air as she delivered news that Trump administration officials have been sending migrant babies and toddlers to 'tender age' shelters.

Rachel Maddow was live on air from the MSNBC studio when she read the news to the camera, saying it had just come out from The Associated Press news agency.

She choked up, saying, "This is incredible," before going on to quote the report.

"Trump administration officials have been sending babies and other young children.. 

"Oh," she said, with her hand over mouth, trying to regain her composure.

"To at least three... Put up the graphic of this, do we have it? No," she said, talking to the control room.

"Three tender age shelters in south Texas... 

"Think I'm gonna have to hand this off, sorry... We'll see you again tomorrow. Now it's time for the last word..." she said handing on to another presenter.

The incident came amid increasing outrage from Republican and Democratic lawmakers over the policy of President Trump's administration that instructs the Department of Homeland Security to separate families seeking entry to the US at the Mexico border.

The 'zero tolerance' policy resulted in about 2000 children being separated from their parents between mid-April and the end of May. 

Many lawmakers have called on Trump to end the policy, but he has dug in against their efforts and has frequently blamed Democrats for the policy.

In a speech today Trump said separating families is necessary if the US wants to prosecute parents for illegally entering the country.