Trump slammed for mi­grant re­marks

Crit­i­ciz­ing state’s han­dling of ‘sanc­tu­ary’ ar­eas

Montreal Gazette - - WORLD - Jill Colvin

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.

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