Trump defends separating families at US border, ‘politically correct or not’

Trump defends separating families at US border, ‘politically correct or not’

Politicians and advocates flocked to the Mexican border to visit USA immigration detention centers and turn up the pressure on the Trump administration amid a growing uproar Monday over its policy of separating immigrant children from their parents.

The family separations, documented by online videos of youngsters detained in cages, put Trump back at the center of a furor over immigration, an issue he inflamed as a presidential candidate and that he has carried into his administration.

On Tuesday, Trump was scheduled to meet with majority Republican congressmen about immigration legislation the House of Representatives expects to vote on later in the week. Here are some of the contradictory excuses offered by the Trump team for a policy that is being increasingly criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike.

Trump and his top administration officials, meanwhile, have offered unapologetic defenses of the policy that are also contradictory and, at times, outright misleading.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said he wants to do away with a legal settlement that requires the government to release children from custody and to their parents, adult relatives or other caretakers, in order of preference. He said Democrats should come to the table to come to an agreement on immigration legislation.

For her part, Mrs. Trump said in a 2016 interview that she has a mixed record when it comes to influencing her husband.

In the audio clips - accessed by non-profit news platform ProPublica from a Customs and Border Protection facility - Central American children, estimated to be between 4 and 10 years old, are heard sobbing and asking for their "Mami" and "Papi".

The president has sought to link an end to the family separations to passage of a wider bill on immigration matters, prompting Democrats to accuse him of using children as hostages.

"While cases are pending, families should stay together", tweeted Cruz, who is in an unexpectedly tough re-election battle.

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

GOP senators including Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Susan Collins of ME also said they've been discussing family separation legislation. The policy of separating children from their family members when they cross the border illegally has prompted debate in Washington, with many rights groups calling the practice inhumane.

Cornyn was among the first Senators to agree with the White House position that Congress has a responsibility to address the issue. Meadows announced the proposal at an informal press conference at the White House on Tuesday following a meeting with Trump.

In the latest condemnation from overseas, the U.N. refugee agency has told Washington it is very concerned over the family separations, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told Reuters.

"People that come in violate the law, they endanger their children in the process, and frankly they endanger all of our children", he said.

In a remark that provoked criticism, Fox News host Laura Ingraham said the detention centres were "essentially summer camps" for migrant children.

The Department of Justice chief said: "Well, it's a real exaggeration, of course". Kids are the most vulnerable people in any society. "He would sign either the Goodlatte or the leadership bills". That bill has a slightly better odds, though leaders have stopped short of promising it will pass.

That all appears to be in doubt now, thanks to a few utterances from Trump.

The president is defending his policy of "zero tolerance" on the border by casting it as a necessary step against "murderers and thieves", and blaming Democrats for creating a mess he's trying to clean up. In both cases Trump said he backed certain polices only to turn around later and blast the same ideas-and those who voted for them-later on Twitter.

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