The White House buckled down on President Donald Trump’s claim that Democrats are to blame for his own administration’s policy of separating undocumented immigrant children from their parents arrested at the border, according to an email statement Monday.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley ripped into what he calls the Democratic Party’s “cruel and inhumane open borders policies” that are “responsible for encouraging mass illegal migration, enabling horrendous child smuggling, and releasing violent MS-13 gang members into American communities.”
“Their lawless policies spread human suffering and finance criminal cartels,” Gidley said. “These Democrat policies lead to the temporary separation of illegal alien families, because they refuse to close border loopholes that prevent those families from being swiftly returned home.”
Gidley said that Democrat policies also “result in the permanent separation of American families” who have to “bury loved ones because of the criminals Democrat policies allow in to this country.”
“Sadly, Democrats openly oppose simple fixes to federal law that would stop the illegal migrant crisis and end the magnet for unlawful migration,” Gidley said.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions flagged the immigrant children separation policy in a speech when he pledged to criminally prosecute as many illegal border crossing cases “as humanly possible.”
“If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law,” Sessions said. “If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen responded similarly to the issue in a congressional testimony a week later.
“Our policy is if you break the law, we will prosecute you,” Nielsen said. “You have an option to go to a port of entry and not illegally cross into our country.”
HHS admitted last month that nearly 1,500 unaccompanied minors were unable to be accounted for during a recent survey.