Dem rep charges Trump with using immigration talk to energize political base

Dem rep charges Trump with using immigration talk to energize political base

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.) on Sunday accused President TrumpDonald John TrumpVeterans groups demand end to shutdown: 'Get your act together' Brown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration Pence on border wall: Trump won't be ‘deterred’ by Dem ‘obstruction’ 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. 

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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.