Updated 10:05 a.m. | President Donald Trump on Monday appeared to defend his administration’s policy of separating migrant families by warning that Germany’s and Europe’s immigration issues could be replicated here.
He used several tweets Monday morning to blast not only German and European immigration laws, but also Democratic lawmakers. The GOP president claimed anew that the opposition party is withholding the votes needed to pass a sweeping immigration overhaul measure that would address a list of unresolved matters.
Trump criticized Democrats for refusing to “give us the votes to fix the world’s worst immigration laws” as one of his deputy press secretaries, Hogan Gidley, was on the White House’s North Lawn calling on Democratic members to meet with Trump to come up with a broad immigration bill.
Why don’t the Democrats give us the votes to fix the world’s worst immigration laws? Where is the outcry for the killings and crime being caused by gangs and thugs, including MS-13, coming into our country illegally?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2018
“Ask the Democrats this question: We can’t deport them, we can’t separate them, we can’t detain them, we can’t prosecute them. What they want is a radical open-border policy that lets everyone out into the interior of this country with virtually no documentation whatsoever,” Gidley said. “They could come to the table and fix this immediately. They’ve chosen not to do that.”
“Next steps, hopefully, is getting some congressional members over to the White House, the president have an open conversation with them. Everyone needs to put down their swords and stop political grandstanding getting ready for the midterms and instead focus on actually fixing their problems,” Gidley said. “They could go back to their districts and say, ‘We stood up for you guys and we fixed the problem.’ But they won’t do that.”
Republicans and Democrats alike are objecting to or questioning the administration’s decision in recent weeks to separate migrant families, sending parents for prosecution and children to be held at detention centers where Democratic lawmakers and experts say they are being kept, in some cases, in “cages.”
Watch: How Trump's Immigration Policy Could Threaten GOP Legislative Agenda Ahead of Midterms
But White House officials’ comments Monday morning gave no indication they are considering altering the policy.
Administration officials, however, have been inconsistent in their messaging about the policy. White House immigration hard-liner Stephen Miller is touting the “zero-tolerance policy,” while Trump says he is no fan of the separations but claims — falsely — that it is the result of a Democratic-only law. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said her agency has no separation policy.
The president also tweeted that children “are being used by some of the worst criminals on earth as a means to enter our country,” and said crime in Central and South American countries is at historically high levels. “Not going to happen in the U.S,” he added.
Children are being used by some of the worst criminals on earth as a means to enter our country. Has anyone been looking at the Crime taking place south of the border. It is historic, with some countries the most dangerous places in the world. Not going to happen in the U.S.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2018
Trump on Monday also implied such policies are necessary, and all indications are Republicans and Democrats intend to make immigration a part of their midterm campaign messages.
The president used tweets to claim that flaws in U.S. law could trigger problems resembling those in Europe.
“We don’t want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!” the president wrote in one tweet.
We don’t want what is happening with immigration in Europe to happen with us!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2018
The U.S. president appeared to stoke political tensions in Germany, saying German citizens are “turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition,” also saying there was a “Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!”
Angela Merkel’s German government faces an uncertain fate. She has been criticized for her policy of allowing in refugees.
Trump also used that tweet to claim crime is “way up” in Germany, implying it is because of Merkel’s immigration policies. But German government data suggests the opposite is true.
The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition. Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2018