While many have censured US President Donald Trump’s administration for separating Central American immigrant children from their parents at US borders, he has defiantly defended his draconian immigration policies, saying that he will not allow the US to become what he called a “migrant camp.”
“The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility,” he said at a meeting of the National Space Council at the White House on Monday.
“You look at what’s happening in Europe and other places, we can’t allow that to happen to the United States. Not on my watch.”
Trump claimed the US has the worst immigration laws in the world and should further enforce border security for the country’s security. “Just remember that a country without borders is not a country at all. We need borders. We need security. We need safety. We have to take care of our people.”
Trump once again repeated calls for a merit-based system for migrants to enter the country.
“They’re people who came on merit. … Not people who snuck across the border — they could be murderers and thieves and so much else. It starts with the border and that’s the way it is.”
On Sunday, Melania Trump censured his husband’s administration for separating immigrant children from their parents at borders, saying she “hates to see children separated from their families.”
Besides the first lady, a wide variety of public figures have called on Trump to end child separation, including former first lady Laura Bush, who seldom weighs in on policy issues.
“I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart,” Bush wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.
Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said Trump’s widely debunked claims that the family separations were mandated by law was “an outright lie”.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, called the policy “inhumane” as he reversed his decision to contribute National Guard resources to the southern border to help enforce security.
Most congressional Republicans, however, have declined to criticize Trump over his immigration policies.