Trump slammed for migrant remarks
Criticizing state’s handling of ‘sanctuary’ areas
WASHINGTON •Whilerailing against California for its so-called sanctuary immigration policies, President Donald Trump referred to some people who cross the border illegally as “animals” — drawing a sharp rebuke from Democratic leaders for the harsh rhetoric.
Trump’s remark at a meeting with local leaders was in response to a comment about MS-13 gang members.
“We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them,” Trump said during the immigration roundtable after Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims complained about state restrictions that limit co-operation with federal immigration authorities. “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals.”
Trump has repeatedly referred to members of the violent street gang as “animals” in speeches and rallies. He has also used the term to describe terrorists and school shooters.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded on Twitter, saying, “When all of our great-great-grandparents came to America they weren’t ‘animals,’ and these people aren’t either.”
And House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi said, “Every day that you think you’ve seen it all, along comes another manifestation of why their policies are so inhumane.”
Trump was joined at the Wednesday White House meeting by mayors, sheriffs and other leaders from California who oppose the state’s immigration policies and who applauded his administration’s hard-line efforts.
“This is your Republican resistance right here against what they’re doing in California,” said Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, co-opting a term used by Democrats opposed to Trump’s presidency. She, like others, said the president and his policies were far more popular in the state than people realize.
They were criticizing legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law last year that bars police from asking people about their immigration status or helping federal agents with immigration enforcement. Jail officials can transfer inmates to immigration authorities if they have been convicted of one of about 800 crimes, mostly felonies, but not minor offences.
Brown insists the legislation doesn’t prevent immigration officials from doing their jobs. But the Trump administration has sued to reverse it, calling the policies unconstitutional.