Dem presidential hopefuls seize on Trump border policy

Dem presidential hopefuls seize on Trump border policy
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Democratic hopefuls for president are seizing on the separation of children from their guardians at the border to blast the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy as inhumane. 

The controversy, which has received wall-to-wall coverage on cable news, has given the Democrats a chance to compete in criticizing the Trump administration while trying out appeals to Hispanic voters.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi Harris2020 hopefuls skeptical of criminal justice deal with Trump Kamala Harris prepares for moment in the spotlight Sentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies MORE (D-Calif.) generated a string of headlines when she became the first lawmaker to call for the resignation of 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, Trump’s embattled Homeland Security secretary.

Harris, 53, called Trump’s policy a “human rights abuse.” 

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandGillibrand: 'Solely focused' on 2018, not potential 2020 White House bid Sunday shows preview: Trump stokes intel feud over clearances Boogeywomen — GOP vilifies big-name female Dems MORE (D-N.Y.), 51, on Tuesday called the zero tolerance policy “an evil, dark thing” during a Politico podcast, while Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBoogeywomen — GOP vilifies big-name female Dems Overnight Health Care: Senate takes up massive HHS spending bill next week | Companies see no sign of drugmakers cutting prices, despite Trump claims | Manchin hits opponent on ObamaCare lawsuit Elizabeth Warren and the new communism MORE (D-Mass.) railed against 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’s refusal to change course.

“@realdonaldtrump could pick up the phone and stop the separation of families seeking refuge in the US,” Warren, 68, wrote Monday on Twitter. “Instead, he continues to hold thousands of kids hostage to try and get Congress to pay for his stupid wall. This is his policy, and he can stop it.” 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersBoogeywomen — GOP vilifies big-name female Dems RealClearPolitics editor: Moderate Democrats are losing even when they win Sanders tests his brand in Florida MORE (I-Vt.) sent an email to his campaign list of supporters to blast the policy, the third time in recent days that he has spoken about the issue. 

Earlier this week, Sanders delivered a speech on the floor urging Congress to take action. 

“The United States of America is not and must never be about locking up little children in cages on the southern border,” Sanders, 76, said. “And right now we have the opportunity and must take advantage of that opportunity to pass legislation to end that horrific practice.” 

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony Booker2020 hopefuls skeptical of criminal justice deal with Trump Sentencing reform deal heats up, pitting Trump against reliable allies Bernie Sanders socialism moves to Democratic mainstream MORE (D-N.J.) called it a “shameful chapter in American history” and said the policy is “morally scarring this country.” 

“This is a low point for me as an American,” Booker, 49, said. “This is really one of the lowest points for me that is heartbreaking for me as an American to see my country engage in behavior that is so despicable, so morally reprehensible. … All of us should be hurting right now.” 

A CNN poll out this week shows that two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the policy of taking migrant children and placing them in government facilities. At the same time, nearly 60 percent of Republicans support the policy. 

Trump has repeatedly sought to blame Democrats for the policy, making an argument that a law requires parents to be separated from children. In reality, as Republican and Democratic lawmakers have noted, there is no such law and the past two administrations, led by former Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, chose not to separate families. 

“Democrats are the problem,” Trump wrote Tuesday on Twitter. “They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our country, like MS-13. They can’t win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters.” 

“We must always arrest people coming into our country illegally,” he wrote in another tweet. “Of the 12,000 children, 10,000 are being sent by their parents on a very dangerous trip, and only 2000 are with their parents, many of whom have tried to enter our country illegally on numerous occasions.” 

In a third tweet, Trump called on Congress to “change the ridiculous and obsolete laws on immigration.” 

“Get it done, always keeping in mind that we must have strong border security,” he said.