- President Donald Trump was vocal on Twitter on Monday morning amid a rising outcry from both sides of the aisle over his administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
- Trump has repeatedly tried to blame Democrats for his administration’s policy of separating families found to have illegally crossed the border.
President Donald Trump was vocal on Twitter on Monday morning amid a rising outcry from both sides of the aisle over his administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy.
Trump has repeatedly tried to blame Democrats for his administration’s policy of separating families found to have illegally crossed the border.
US immigration law does not require children to be split up from their parents at the border, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy in May as a deterrence measure, saying, “If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”
Almost 2,000 children have been separated from their families at the border over six weeks under the policy, according to government data obtained by the Associated Press.
The Washington Post reported on Friday that Trump saw the policy as leverage to help him achieve other goals regarding immigration policy, including tighter security and his promised border wall.
On Monday, Trump began commenting with a repeated call for Democrats to support new immigration legislation.
He then called out Germany, which relaxed its immigration policy amid the recent refugee crisis, falsely saying crime in Germany was “way up.”
Trump went on to cite the violence some immigrants are fleeing as a reason to tighten the US’s borders. Beyond the children separated from their parents at the border under Trump’s policy, about 230,000 minors have come to the US unaccompanied since 2014, according to Customs and Border Protection data.
In 2017, most of these unaccompanied children were ages 15 to 18, and 94% were referred to the refugee-resettlement office after fleeing violence in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, a violent streak Trump seemed to suggest was a reason any immigrants from the southern border could be a threat.
Finally, Trump summed up his call for legislative action:
Trump also commented on the policy in front of a White House press gaggle last week, calling for immigration measures he’d been advocating since his 2016 campaign.
“I hate to see separation of parents and children,” Trump said. “The Democrats can come to us as they actually are in all fairness, we are talking to them, and they can change the whole border security. We need a wall. We need border security. We’ve got to get rid of ‘catch and release.'”
‘Trump could stop this policy with a phone call’
The policy has drawn ire from both sides of the aisle, dominating the conversation on lawmakers’ on-air appearances over the weekend.Several Democratic lawmakers visited a New Jersey detention center in honour of Father’s Day to protest the policy separating children from their parents and meeting with fathers whose children were separated from them after crossing the border.
Other Trump officials have lamented the policy. The White House counselor, Kellyanne Conway, said Sunday that “nobody likes” the policy but that rather than end it, Trump “is ready to get meaningful immigration reform across the board.”
The former first lady Laura Bush condemned the policy Sunday in a rare op-ed article.
“I live in a border state,” Bush wrote. “I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called on Trump last week to use his executive authority to end the policy, underlining that no legislative action was needed.
“President Trump could stop this policy with a phone call,” Graham said Friday on CNN. “I’ll go tell him. If you don’t like families’ being separated, you can tell DHS: ‘Stop doing it.'”
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