President Donald Trump defended his tough enforcement of immigration laws on Tuesday, blaming Democrats for failing to work with Republicans to change the laws to allow families to stay together.
“What I’m asking Congress to do is to give us a third option, which we have been requesting since last year, the legal authority to detain and promptly remove families together as a unit,” Trump said, calling it “the only solution to the border crisis.”
The president commented on the issue during a speech at the NFIB 75th Anniversary celebration in Washington, DC.
He said that he wanted to stop the separation of families but did not want to simply release adults and children together into the United States.
“As a result of Democrat-supported loopholes and our federal laws, most illegal immigrant families and minors from Central America who arrive unlawfully at the border cannot be detained together or removed together, only released,” Trump said.
Trump said that the current immigration and asylum law policies were enticing smugglers to bring children illegally into the country.
“They’ve learned the loopholes in this horrible, rotten system that the Democrats have to help us fix,” he said.
He dismissed a proposal from Sen. Ted Cruz to hire more judges to reduce the backlog of asylum claims at the border.
“Ultimately we have to have a real border, not judges,” Trump said.
He said more immigration judges would simply allow more illegal immigrants to come into the country, instead of keeping them out and set them free into the United States while they were waiting for a judicial hearing.
“I don’t want people coming in,” Trump said. “We want them to come in through a legal process like everybody else waiting to come into our country.”