WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump vowed on Monday that the United States would not become a "migrant camp" as he faced mounting pressure to stop families being separated as a deterrent to illegal immigration.
"The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility," Trump said in remarks delivered at the White House. "It won't be."
"You look at what's happening in Europe, you look at what's happening in other places, we can't allow that to happen to the United States. Not on my watch."
About 2,000 children have been separated from their parents or guardians over six weeks, according to US authorities, since the Trump administration announced that all migrants illegally crossing the Mexican border would be arrested, regardless of whether the adults were seeking asylum.
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Since children cannot be sent to the facilities where their parents are held, they are separated from them.
Trump has repeatedly said he wants family separations to end, but has refused to take responsibility for them — instead blaming Democrats, the minority party in Congress, whom he accuses of blocking legislation on the broader issue of illegal immigration.
He doubled down on that claim on Monday in a series of tweets, and again in remarks before a meeting of the National Space Council.
"If the Democrats would sit down instead of obstructing, we could have something done very quickly. Good for the children, good for the country, good for the world," he said.
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"We have the worst immigration laws in the entire world."
"We're stuck with these horrible laws. They're horrible laws. What's happening is so sad, is so sad. And it can be taken care of quickly, beautifully," he said.
"But just remember, 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."