President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he planned to make changes to Speaker Paul Ryan’s proposed immigration legislation to address the current crisis at the border.
“We have a House that’s getting ready to finalize an immigration package that they’re going to brief me on later, and I’m going to make changes to it,” Trump said during a speech at the NFIB 70th anniversary celebration in Washington, DC.
The current bill proposed by House leadership would give amnesty to over 1.8 million children of illegal immigrants in exchange for modest border security funding. Trump is scheduled for a briefing by House Republicans later Tuesday evening.
The president said that he wanted to make important changes to the bill to fix the ongoing border crisis and the problem of child separation from families.
“We have one chance to get it right,” he said. “We might as well get it right, or let’s just keep it going.”
Trump said he did not want to separate families, but he did not like the alternative of setting them free into the country.
“I don’t want children taken away from parents. And when you prosecute the parents for coming in illegally, which should happen, you have to take the children away,” he said. “We don’t have to prosecute them but then we are not prosecuting them for coming in illegally. That’s not good.”
Trump said that he would continue enforcing the law, repeating comments that he made when he announced his run for president that countries south of the border “were not sending their best” to the United States.
“Remember I made that speech and I was badly criticized?” Trump asked the audience who laughed. “Turned out I was 100 percent right. That’s why I got elected.”