President Donald Trump on Monday falsely accused congressional Democrats of obstructing the reversal of his own migrant family separation policy.
“Immigration is the fault— and all of the problems that we’re having, because we cannot get them to sign legislation, we cannot get them even to the negotiating table, and I say it’s very strongly the Democrats’ fault,” he said.
Trump separately asserted, as others in his administration have, that he would not reverse the family separation policy on his own, but rather that he wanted Congress to include the reversal in a larger legislative effort.
“If the Democrats would sit down instead of obstructing we could have something done very quickly,” Trump said. “Good for the children, good for the country, good for the world. It could take place quickly. We could have an immigration bill, we could have child separation. We are stuck with these horrible laws.”
Trump: Give me my wall and maybe these beautiful children don't need to get hurt. pic.twitter.com/yk2s4sOjWY
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) June 18, 2018
In fact, Trump doesn’t need congressional Democrats to end his administration’s new family separation policy “quickly.” His administration could do so immediately.
As has been extensively reported, there is no law requiring the separation of families apprehended crossing the border. In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a new policy that superseded the established one of not criminally prosecuting parents who are arrested at the border with children. He told U.S. attorneys to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting everyone apprehended at the border.
Because of that new policy, and because children cannot be held in criminal detention with their parents, family separations have spiked since Sessions’ new policy was enacted. Sessions on Monday defended the policy as a deterrent to parents attempting to cross the border with their children.