President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday to criticize Democrat lawmakers for what he called a “horrible” immigration law that supposedly separates children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there [sic] parents once they cross the Border into the U.S.,” Trump wrote on Saturday morning.
“Catch and Release, Lottery and Chain must also go with it and we MUST continue building the WALL! DEMOCRATS ARE PROTECTING MS-13 THUGS.”
As noted by Fox News, Donald Trump’s comments were made amid harsh criticism of the Justice Department’s “zero tolerance” policy, where all illegal southwest border crossings are coursed through the department for prosecution, even in the case of immigrants with children. Once illegal immigrants are prosecuted, adults are sent to detention centers for criminal charges, while their young children are registered as “unaccompanied minors” and turned over to the Health and Human Services Department.
For the month of April, the Border Patrol caught approximately 38,000 individuals, representing a figure about three times higher than April 2017 figures, but still a historically low number compared to previous decades, according to Politico.
Donald Trump’s blaming of Democrats for what he feels are unfavorable immigration laws is not unprecedented, as he had recently told Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen that immigrant families get split up as a result of the “bad laws” passed down from Democrat lawmakers. According to Fox News, Trump might have been referring to an anti-child trafficking law authored in 2008 by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) that was signed into law by George W. Bush toward the end of his second term as president.
Fox News further noted that the aforementioned law requires unaccompanied minors traveling to the U.S. from countries outside of Mexico and Canada to be released to a family or shelter, or what is referred to as the “least restrictive setting.”
Although Attorney General Jeff Sessions explained the Justice Department’s zero-tolerance policy by saying that children can indeed be separated from their parents if they are being “smuggled” into the United States, Trump’s tweet from Saturday asked Democrats to do away with such practices. This would entail ending the “catch and release” system, where illegal immigrants are allowed to live in the U.S. while awaiting their court hearing, and also putting a stop to diversity lottery visas and the practice of chain migration, where one immigrant could theoretically help all their family members enter the country by sponsoring them for visas.
Speaking to Politico, American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Lee Gelernt accused Donald Trump of “perverse” blame shifting, saying that it was his administration, and not the Democrats, that made the decision to break up families.
“Whatever disagreements people may have about how to address the larger immigration issues in this country, little children should not be negotiating pawns. We are talking about 2-, 3-, 4-year-olds.”
Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s Twitter post from Saturday also alleged that Democrats are “protecting” MS-13 members, not long after he controversially referred to them as “animals,” and called America’s immigration laws the “dumbest” in the world, as previously reported by the Inquisitr.