With the federal government struggling to meet a court-ordered deadline to reunite immigrant children with their parents, President Trump has proposed his own solution: don’t come to the United States illegally.
“Well, I have a solution,” Trump said on Tuesday. “Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That’s the solution. Come like other people do. Come legally.”
“I’m saying this very simply,” he continued. “We have laws. We have borders. Don’t come to our country illegally. It’s not a good thing.”
Since spring’s end, the Trump administration has enacted a series of “zero-tolerance” policies to combat illegal immigration. Leading the charge along with the president has been U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Sessions, an outspoken critic of sanctuary cities and contemporary immigration policy, ordered the Justice Department to begin criminal prosecutions of all undocumented aliens from May onward. The endeavor entailed enlisting hundreds of new judges and prosecutors, most of whom were redeployed to courts in the southwest.
“Well, I have a solution: Tell people not to come to our country illegally. That's the solution: Don't come to our country illegally. Come like other people do—come legally. I'm saying this very simply: We have laws, we have borders. Don't come to our country illegally.” pic.twitter.com/kiwB8rJVDl
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 10, 2018
The “zero-tolerance” policy attracted flack from critics after it was revealed that young children were being separated from their parents while awaiting arraignment and conviction. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that several thousand children—some as young as 1—were taken from their relatives at the border and are now in agency custody.
Late in June, federal judge Dana Sabraw ordered that the practice come to an immediate halt. Sabraw directed the federal government to complete reunifications of children under 5 years old by July 10th.
Children and teenagers of other ages should be back with their relatives by the 26th.
However, the government’s been unable to meet the July 10th deadline. Officials from the HHS cited the necessity of performing DNA tests to confirm the relationship between parents and children. About 100 minors were still waiting positive results, prompting the administration to ask for an extension.
POLITICO notes that the debacle has prompted some Democrats to begin calling for immigration reform. Liberals—ranging from upstart congressional contenders to established senators—have suggested the abolition of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
On Tuesday, President Trump responded to critics of ICE by framing them as criminal enablers.
“The people that are fighting ICE, it’s a disgrace,” he said. “These people go into harm’s way. There is nobody under greater danger than the people from ICE.
“We ought to support ICE, not do what Democrats are doing. Democrats want open borders and they don’t mind crime. We want no crime and we want borders where borders mean something, alright?”
Trump’s comments echo those he’s made since inauguration—that Democrats tend to take a soft stance on immigrant-caused crime, whether through a want to abolish ICE or locally-imposed sanctuary city policies.