Trump Talks Illegal Immigration, Border with Allied GOP Governors

Trump, Governors
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

President Trump had dinner with five Republican governors at the White House Monday to discuss border security and tackling illegal immigration.

At the dinner, Trump slammed current American immigration laws’ ability to restore order on the southern border, calling them “the worst anywhere in the world as far as stopping people from coming in.”

The president laid blame squarely on Congress’s doorstep, saying, “Our weak laws that have been given to us by weak people in Congress,” and, “The Democrats have been horrible on border security, and many of them are standing there and sitting there and agreeing with me 100 percent.”

“What happens is they get lost in our country and in some cases, these are not people that you want in the country,” Trump said of so-called “catch-and-release” practices by which suspected illegal aliens are often allowed to remain in the United States while their cases wind through the woefully overburdened immigration courts..

“We have to end it,” Trump concluded, calling catch-and-release a “disgraceful practice.”

The meeting came as Congress is again showing signs it may move forward with one of several amnesty-including immigration bills, prompting the President to reportedly work with the House GOP leadership to hash out yet another compromise on his signature campaign issue. Separately, Trump is expected to demand additional funding for the wall on the southern border in 2019.

The governors at the dinner included border state leaders Doug Ducey of Arizona and Susana Martinez of New Mexico, both of whom ordered their National Guard troops to the border in support of President Trump’s plan to bolster Border Patrol operations. Also present were Phil Bryant of Mississippi, Henry McMaster of South Carolina – appointed to replace Nikki Haley after his role in delivering the pivotal 2016 South Carolina Primary for Trump and now facing a Never Trump primary challenge – and Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, whom Trump formally endorsed on Twitter immediately following the dinner for Tuesday’s Arkansas GOP primary:

Hutchinson, who gave a full-throated endorsement of Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention, is comfortably ahead in the sparse opinion polls. His campaign account thanks the president for his endorsement:

With the impasse on Capitol Hill and open resistance in the form of “sanctuary policies” from left-leaning states and localities, Republican governors may play a more significant role in ramping up immigration enforcement. Senior Justice Department officials, for example, hosted a panel last week on the 287(g) program, which allows state and local officials to actively assist in identifying and delivering to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) illegal aliens discovered among the the people they arrest. Some strong anti-illegal immigration Republican gubernatorial candidates have made pledges to make 287(g) participation mandatory across their states.

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