Trump clashes with reporters over false claim about separating children at border

Laina Yost

President Trump on Friday repeatedly and falsely defended his administration’s policy of separating families at the border by blaming Democrats.

Democrats “forced that law on our nation,” Trump insisted while speaking to reporters outside the White House. But there’s no law here.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration rolled out new measures to separate children from their parents, whom they’re now prosecuting with criminal charges, when the migrant families illegally cross into the U.S.

A rally in Los Angeles against the separation of children of immigrants from their families, outside a detention center where Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees are held, June 14, 2018. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“I want the laws to be beautiful, humane. Strong,” Trump said Friday, suggesting to reporters to tell “your friends the Democrats to call me.”

Reporters repeatedly noted to Trump that his statement about the policy was untrue. Trump, addressing reporters at length after a North Lawn “Fox & Friends” interview, wouldn’t budge from his claim.

“[Attorney General Jeff Sessions is] following laws, very simply, that were given to us and forced upon us by the Democrats,” Trump said.

 “But there’s no law that says families have to be separated at the border,” a reporter responded.

 “The Democrats gave us the laws. I want the laws to be beautiful,” Trump repeated.

Currently, there are over 10,000 children being detained in the United States.

This isn’t the first time Trump has falsely stated that Democrats are to blame for his policy. “Put pressure on the Democrats,” he tweeted in May.

Just hours after Trump’s remarks to reporters, he doubled down on his claim on Twitter. He also listed a series of demands for any immigration bill that would land on his desk.

Democrats have condemned the new process, calling it inhumane and cruel.

“This is not a zero-tolerance policy — this is a zero-humanity policy,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., who recently visited detention centers in Texas to see where immigrant children were being held.

The House is set to vote on two immigration measures next week, with one billed as a compromise between conservative and moderate Republican members.  

“I’m looking at them both,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends” Friday. “I certainly wouldn’t sign the more moderate one.”

The moderate bill includes a prohibition of separating children and parents from each other. It also includes a pathway to legal status for young, undocumented immigrants.


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