Trump defends treatment of migrants at border following criticism at Democratic debate

Trump defends treatment of migrants at border following criticism at Democratic debate
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Pelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Trump mocks Biden appearance, mask use ahead of first debate MORE on Wednesday pushed back against Democratic presidential candidates decrying the treatment of migrants under his administration, blaming his predecessor for the construction of "cages."

"The cages for kids were built by the Obama Administration in 2014," Trump tweeted, reacting a short time after candidates discussed the treatment of migrant children as part of the second round of presidential debates.

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The president repeated his claim that former President Obama implemented a policy of "child separation" and that he ended it.

The Obama administration did not have a sweeping policy of prosecuting adults in a way that required they be separated from their children.

The Trump administration last year implemented a “zero tolerance” policy to criminally prosecute border crossings, which led to the separations of hundreds of migrant families detained by federal authorities.

The president issued an order ending the practice after massive outcry from Democrats and Republicans. But the American Civil Liberties Union alleged in a court filing Tuesday that the administration has separated more than 900 children from their families despite a judge ordering an end to the separations more than a year ago.

Democratic presidential candidates on Wednesday hammered Trump over his policies and rhetoric toward migrants. Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisButtigieg stands in as Pence for Harris's debate practice First presidential debate to cover coronavirus, Supreme Court Harris joins women's voter mobilization event also featuring Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda MORE (D-Calif.) recalled visiting the Homestead facility where young migrants are being held in Florida, while Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats tee up vote on climate-focused energy bill next week | EPA reappoints controversial leader to air quality advisory committee | Coronavirus creates delay in Pentagon research for alternative to 'forever chemicals' Senate Democrats demand White House fire controversial head of public lands agency Next crisis, keep people working and give them raises MORE (D-Colo.) declared "kids belong in classrooms, not cages."

Trump has repeatedly sought to defend his administration's treatment of migrants, shifting blame to his predecessor. He has frequently asserted that the Obama administration built many of the facilities where migrants from Central America are now behind held.

In an interview with The Hill last month, Trump argued that migrant detention facilities are better than they were under Obama. Numerous reports have described worsening conditions and lack of access to basic hygiene in centers along the southern border and elsewhere.