Just over a week into a government shutdown, President Donald Trump has continued to cast blame on Democrats for a lack of political action and the deaths of two migrant children in federal custody.
“I am in the White House waiting for the Democrats to come on over and make a deal on Border Security,” Trump tweeted. According to The Guardian, the posts came amidst the commander-in-chief’s insistence that Mexico will pay for a border wall.
Trump has shouldered responsibility for the shutdown, saying it’ll carry on unresolved until Democrats offer billions for a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border.
And on Saturday, the president embarked on another digital escapade: blaming liberals for the pitfalls of poorly-considered immigration enforcement tactics.
“Any deaths of children or others are the Border are strictly the fault of Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally,” he wrote. “They can’t. If we had a Wall, they wouldn’t even try!”
As the Guardian notes, two Guatemalan children—both under the age of 10—have died in U.S. custody in less than a month.
“The two children in question were very sick before they were given over to Border Patrol,” Trump tweeted. “The father of the young girl said it was not their fault, he hadn’t given her water in days. Border Patrol needs the Wall and it will all end. They are working so hard getting so little credit!”
Eight-year old Felipe Gomez Alonzo died last week, after showing flu-like symptoms. Border Patrol agents took the boy to the hospital, where he was given medication and discharged.
He was returned later in the evening with a fever approaching 103 degrees Fahrenheit, dying early the next morning.
Any deaths of children or others at the Border are strictly the fault of the Democrats and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally. They can’t. If we had a Wall, they wouldn’t even try! The two…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 29, 2018
Jakelin Caal, 7, was declared dead on December 8th. Caal, who’d been detained along with her father, was declared in good health by medical examiners.
Immigration advocates have pointed to Caal’s death as preventable. Caal’s father, who speaks a dialect of Mayan and is not fully proficient in Spanish, may not have understood the medical forms he was asked to sign after the pair were taken into custody.
In the wake of both deaths, Border Patrol reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring the health of migrant children. Officials said they’d step up secondary medical screenings for detained minors, with special consideration given to those under the age of 10.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen has promised “extraordinary” measures to deal with an uptick in youthful asylum-seekers and illegal immigrants.
“The system is clearly overwhelmed and we must work together to address this humanitarian crisis and protect vulnerable populations,” she said, prodding Congress to “act with urgency.”
Nielsen has so far avoided apportioning blame to the Border Patrol or any other federal agencies.