President Donald Trump framed immigration policy Wednesday between two poles: The country could be “overrun with millions of people,” or he could be accused of not having “any heart.”
For a President who has reportedly used racist language in reference to certain African nations and Haiti, and who has described undocumented immigrants as “animals” who “infest” the country, the rhetoric added to a list of sentiments from the President that undocumented immigrants are a problem to be dealt with, a drain on the vitality of a nation.
“The dilemma” with the immigration debate, Trump told lawmakers during a televised meeting Wednesday, “is that if you’re weak, if you’re weak — which some people would like you to be — if you’re really, really pathetically weak, the country is going to be overrun with millions of people.”
“And if you’re strong, then you don’t have any heart,” he said. “That’s a tough dilemma.”
“Perhaps I would rather with strong, but that’s a tough dilemma.”
Trump also announced in the meeting that he would be signing an executive order to “keep families together,” without explaining further. His administration’s policy of family separation for migrants apprehended at the border has resulted so far in thousands of separated families since April, averaging dozens a day recently.
He’s otherwise kicked the can to Congress, where Republican lawmakers have by and large refused to pressure him publicly to simply undo the policy, which the President has the power to do. The family separations have added political weight to sprawling Republican immigration proposals that would affect far more than the narrow issue of family separation.
Trump didn’t elaborate on the family separation executive order he said he planned to sign. But he asserted he had to “maintain toughness, or our country will be overrun: by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don’t stand for, that we don’t want.”