President Donald Trump said Friday that he “hates” migrant parents being separated from their children at the U.S.-Mexico border and insisted that the “Democratic law” that requires the separation can only be changed by Democratic lawmakers, despite the Republican majorities in Congress.
“The Democrats forced that law upon our nation,” he said during an impromptu press conference outside the White House. “I hate it. I hate to see separation of parents and children. The Democrats can come to us, as they actually are, in all fairness, we’re talking to them, and they can change the whole border security.”
The practice of separating parents from their children at the border is not enshrined in some Democratic administration’s law. According to an extensive Washington Post fact check, it is largely a product of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which includes prosecutorial crackdowns on all undocumented adults, while existing policy requires that minors not be held in captivity. Thus, it is Sessions’ policy that directly caused the separations.
In addition, Trump has routinely put the onus on the minority party to pass legislation ending the separations, for some reason exempting the Republican majorities from taking any action. In fact, a week ago, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and 39 cosponsors—all Democrats plus the two Independents who caucus with the Democrats—introduced the “Keeping Families Together Act” on the floor of the Senate.
House Republicans have released drafted legislation that would end the separation practice as well, but it looks like it would include so many bitter pills—wall funding, significant restrictions on legal and family-based immigration—that it is not likely to garner much Democratic support.
When asked about the White House’s stance on the familial separations at the Thursday press briefing, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders backed up Sessions’ argument that “it is biblical to enforce the law,” falsely asserting that the Trump administration is bound to laws already on the books.
Watch Trump’s comments below:
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) June 15, 2018