Trump, U.S. Republicans to meet amid furor over family separation policy

Minnie Murray
June 20, 2018

President Donald Trump hugs the American flag after speaking at a National Federation of Independent Business event in Washington on June 19, 2018.

There is bipartisan outrage over a Trump administration policy that is separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S. -Mexico border.

Almost 2,000 children were taken from their parents over a six-week period in April and May after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to prosecuting those arrested for illegally entering the country. Enacted earlier this year, the administration's policy dictates that every adult caught illegally crossing the US southern border face criminal prosecution.

Trump on Tuesday again inaccurately blamed opposition Democrats for the border dispute, even though his administration set the child separation policy.

"She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart", her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told CNN.

The president went on to say that his administration is halting the attempted smuggling of families across the border "by the thousands". When asked what he was doing to help the children in detention centers, he responded, "I appreciate you're critical of the leadership in this country, but where in the hell is the leadership in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador?"

Kirstjen Nielsen, Homeland Security Secretary, said she had not heard the audio but said children taken into custody by the government were being treated humanely.

Under the policy, Central and South Americans who were detained after crossing the border illegally were released into the United States on a promise to appear at an immigration hearing, typically months later.

GETTYAttorney General Jeff Sessions slammed critics who faulted the policy
GETTYAttorney General Jeff Sessions slammed critics who faulted the policy

He berated Democrats, calling them "the problem". Republicans are increasingly joining Democrats in that call.

US- Several Central American children separated from parents at the southern US border are heard desperately sobbing and wailing in a recording released on Monday by transparency group ProPublica, some so hard they nearly can not breathe.

President Trump: "It is the Democrats' fault for being weak and ineffective with Boarder Security and Crime".

"We must always arrest people coming into our Country illegally", he added.

The attorneys general of 21 states called on Sessions in a letter on Tuesday to stop endangering children by separating them from their families.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen was flying back from a weekend trip to Texas, where he inspected facilities on the front lines of the Trump administration policy. "They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people", Trump said at the time. He said he did not know how much the proposal would cost. "What has happened for us to have to craft legislation to say, 'Don't pull kids out of the arms of their mothers, '" he said. She said the government had high standards for detention centres and the children were well cared for, stressing that Congress needs to plug loopholes in the law so families can stay together.

Mr. Trump will later meet with Republican members of Congress on Capitol Hill Tuesday where he is expected to discuss ongoing efforts on immigration legislation, among other topics.

The Trump administration also ended a program past year that was bringing every single one of the undocumented immigrants the program served to court.

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