Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) on Sunday accused President TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Defense & National Security — The Pentagon's deadly mistake Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Interior returns BLM HQ to Washington France pulls ambassadors to US, Australia in protest of submarine deal MORE of using immigration rhetoric and "cruel, inhumane policies" to energize his political base.
"The president uses words like 'they're breeders,' 'in sanctuary cities they're protecting breeders.' He said yesterday 'they come to infest.' I mean, these are the kinds of words that the Republican Party and this president uses," Gutiérrez said on ABC's "This Week." "And he doesn't use it as immigration policy, he doesn't use it as border control policy, he uses it as an issue in order to energize his political base for the midterm elections."
"It's wrong to separate babies, to use cruel, inhumane policies in order to gin up your political base," he continued.
Democratic Rep. Luis Gutiérrez says Pres. Trump's immigration rhetoric is meant to energize his political base ahead of the midterms: "It's wrong to separate babies, to use cruel, inhumane policies in order to gin up your political base" https://t.co/2AGIg96u5B #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/19taQUSBTa— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) June 24, 2018
Gutiérrez's comments come days after Trump signed an executive order halting his administration's policy of separating migrant families apprehended at the border.
The "zero tolerance" policy, announced in April, seeks to aggressively prosecute those attempting to cross into the U.S. illegally via the southern border. Under the policy, more than 2,000 migrant families were separated after crossing the U.S.–Mexico border illegally.
The practice dominated the news cycle this past week as images and audio recordings of migrant children crying for their parents circulated across news outlets and social media, drawing widespread backlash from both sides of the aisle.
Trump, bowing to bipartisan pressure, attempted to ease criticism for his administration's policy last week by signing an executive order to halt family separations. The order says most families apprehended for illegally crossing the southern border may be detained together, but did not address the futures of those who had already been separated under the initial policy.