Friday 14 December 2018

'People must simply be stopped at the border' - Trump wants illegal immigrants turned away

US President Donald Trump (Niall Carson/PA)
US President Donald Trump (Niall Carson/PA)

Yeganeh Torbati

US President Donald Trump reiterated frustration at laws granting due process to illegal immigrants on Monday and said people should be turned away at the border, as expectations faded for a speedy fix in the US Congress to the border crisis.

Heavily criticized for a policy that led to more than 2,000 children being separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, Trump defended his "zero tolerance" immigration policy, as government agencies struggle to address its ramifications.

"Hiring many thousands of judges, and going through a long and complicated legal process, is not the way to go - will always be disfunctional (sic)," Trump said in a tweet.

"People must simply be stopped at the Border and told they cannot come into the U.S. illegally."

Trump expressed a similar view on Sunday, saying in a tweet that "We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country" and they should be sent home with no judges or court cases.

Democrats have accused Trump of wanting to circumvent the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of due process for those accused of crimes.

Trump faced a global outcry, including criticism from some in his own Republican Party, this month over migrant children who were separated from their parents because of the administration's two-month old policy of seeking to detain and prosecute everyone caught entering the country illegally.

The president caved on Wednesday, issuing an executive order that ended the separations. But the zero tolerance policy remains in place, raising questions about where to house families detained at the border and how to process them speedily. Despite his order, the government has yet to reunite more than 2,000 children with their parents.

Rather than hire more judges to adjudicate the cases of illegal immigrants and clear a backlog, Trump wants fewer border-crossers to ease the burden on the court system.

Guatemalan children, some as young as five, are being held in a dozen shelters in the northeastern United States while their parents have already been deported, Guatemalan consulate official Pedro Tzunun in New York told Reuters.

“If you’re sending a parent home, why are you keeping the children?” said Jazmin Carrillo, spokeswoman for the consulate. “We don’t understand how this can be possible.”

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