Trump blames Democrats for 'bad laws' separating undocumented immigrant families

Trump blames Democrats for 'bad laws' separating undocumented immigrant families
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpArizona GOP Senate candidate defends bus tour with far-right activist Alyssa Milano protests Kavanaugh in 'Handmaid's Tale' costume Bomb in deadly Yemen school bus attack was manufactured by US firm: report MORE on Wednesday blamed Democrats for his administration’s policies on separating families who cross the U.S. border illegally.

“The Democrats gave us that law. It’s a horrible thing we have to break up families,” Trump said during a meeting with California officials who oppose sanctuary city policies.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsSantorum: Mueller could avoid charges of McCarthyism by investigating DOJ, FBI 8,000 new ways the Trump administration is undermining immigration court independence Watergate's John Dean rips Trump: I doubt you have any idea what McGahn told Mueller MORE enacted a new “zero tolerance” policy earlier this month, which calls for more prosecution of immigrants crossing the U.S.–Mexico border illegally. Sessions warned that children who cross the border illegally may be separated from their families as a result.

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During Wednesday's meeting, Trump reassured Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenTo solve the southern border crisis, look past the border Cybersecurity: Cause for optimism, need for continued vigilance The Hill's Morning Report — Dems split on key issues but united against Trump MORE that she is doing a good job, and that Democrats are to blame for separating families.

"You’re doing a good job. And it’s not an easy job. I know what you’re going through right now with families is very tough. But those are the bad laws the Democrats gave us," Trump said.

"They gave us that law and they don’t want to do anything about it," he added. "They’ll leave it like that because they don’t want to make any changes. And now you’re breaking up families because of the Democrats. It’s terrible."

Earlier this month, Trump administration officials announced they would criminally prosecute all illegal border crossings, including those made by people traveling in family units. 

The extra prosecutions will likely lead to more parents being separated from their children, potentially increasing the number of children put in the care of Health and Human Services.

The Trump administration is looking into using military bases to house immigrant minors who are either caught traveling unaccompanied or separated from their families after crossing the border illegally.

Last week, chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE disputed that the separation of families is "cruel," saying children will be "taken care of — put into foster care or whatever."

Trump has frequently complained that the U.S. has weak immigration laws, and has called on Congress to enact stricter policies.