CHICAGO (CBS) — As House Republicans try to find a consensus on immigration reform, President Donald Trump is holding a hard line, insisting people who cross the border illegally should not be entitled to hear their cases heard by a judge, and should be sent back without due process.
“We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country. When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents…,” the president tweeted Sunday.
The president’s tweets about detainees were met with angry responses from Democrats.
“That’s not what our country is about,” U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren said while in Texas to meet with detainees at a processing center.
Warren said many migrants fleeing gang violence or domestic abuse and seeking asylum in the U.S. see America as their only hope for safety.
“When a woman comes here with her 4-year-old son and asks for amnesty and says, ‘I am being threatened by gangs in my country,’ we should at least give her a hearing,” she said.
Workers at a Texas charity that helps border crossers said 32 parents separated from their children were freed on Sunday, after authorities withdrew criminal charges.
Federal authorities say they know the locations of all children who were separated from their families under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on illegal border crossings.
House Republicans have been working to find a consensus on immigration reform, and plan to push forward with a vote this week, even though conservatives and moderates appear no closer to an agreement on how to move forward.
The president repeatedly has pushed back on calls from Republicans and Democrats to bring in additional immigration judges at the Mexico border to handle a backlog of illegal entry cases and speed up asylum hearings.
Trump, in a series of misspelled tweets Monday morning, insisted the only answer is building his border wall:
“Hiring manythousands of judges, and going through a long and complicated legal process, is not the way to go – will always be disfunctional. People must simply be stopped at the Border and told they cannot come into the U.S. illegally. Children brought back to their country…..” he wrote. “….If this is done, illegal immigration will be stopped in it’s tracks – and at very little, by comparison, cost. This is the only real answer – and we must continue to BUILD THE WALL!”
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who last week visited with immigrant children brought to Chicago after being separated from their parents under the Trump “zero tolerance” immigration policy, on Monday met with Chicago area children writing carfs to the more than 2,300 migrant kids still separated from their parents.
The children Durbin met, ages 3 to 5, are students at a children and family center operated by El Valor, a non-profit Hispanic community group that provides various services to low-income families and people with disabilities.
The children were preparing welcome cards to be distributed to other kids who are being detained by immigration authorities. Durbin said those cards will be distributed by officials with the Office of Refugee Resettlement, based in Washington D.C.
The senator said he’s troubled by the forcible separation of children from their parents, and by the president’s executive order to temporarily end family separations by having parents and their children detained together after crossing the border illegally.
The U.S. Navy now is preparing to house up to 25,000 migrants at remote facilities in California, Arizona, and Alabama for six months.
“This idea of creating new internment camps through the Department of Defense is absolutely unacceptable. We cannot return to the sad days in our history when we were interning people who were not guilty of any crime; in this circumstance, interning families … would not only be grossly expensive, but it just does not represent the values of this country,” Durbin said.
The plans for the Navy to build sprawling detention centers is the latest escalation in implementing the president’s “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting every person caught crossing the border illegally, even those bringing children.
Previously, adults without criminal histories who crossed the border with children were not referred for prosecution. Instead, some were booked into immigrant family detention centers and others were referred for civil deportation proceedings and released.
Durbin said he plans to meet in Washington with fellow senators Dianne Feinstein, Ted Cruz, and Thom Thillis to try to hammer out an immigration deal the rest of the Senate, and possibly the president, can support. He said the top priority will be reuniting separated children with their families.