Watch CBS News

Trump's Immigration Policy Comes Under Fire

Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) - There were protests around the country over the weekend as the Trump administration's immigration policy comes under fire.

The president will meet with House Republicans later this week to work on immigration bills.

New images released by Customs and Border Protection show the living conditions for people being held at a border patrol facility in south Texas. Inside an old warehouse, children can be seen in steel cages, with foil sheets as blankets.

Protesters outside the facility demanded authorities stop separating migrant children from their parents.

"This is not the Texas I know, this is not the America that I grew up in," said Dora Saavedra.

In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions unveiled a "zero tolerance" policy. Adults who illegally crossed the border could be charged and placed in jail, away from their children.

"It is absolutely the law of the land to do what we have to do. There are only two things we can do in this situation, we can release the entire family unit or we can separate them. That's it," said White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley.

"The zero-tolerance policy means zero humanity and it makes zero sense," said Senator Jeff Merkley, D-OR.

Under President Bush, the U.S. referred all illegal immigrants for prosecution but made exceptions for adults traveling with children. The Obama administration used the same model, but detained families together.

Senator Marco Rubio tweeted that something needs to be done.

President Trump has said the policy is about stopping the spread of violence from Central America to the United States because criminals use children as pawns to come here illegally.

"We have seen a staggering 350% increase in illegal aliens fraudulently using children to pose as family units to gain entry into this country," said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Department of Homeland Security numbers show that over a six-week period, nearly two thousand children were taken from nearly as many adults.

While President Trump has tried to blame Democrats for the policy, the House is only expected to vote on immigration bills crafted by Republicans.

"I think what the president is saying is if the Democrats are serious, they'll come together again and try to close these loopholes and get real immigration reform," said White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.

"What the administration is doing is they're using the grief, the tears, the pain of these kids as mortar to build their wall and it's an effort to extort a bill to their liking in the Congress," said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-CA.

The president meets with House Republicans on Tuesday. They're working on an immigration bill that would fund Trump's border wall, impose new limits on immigration, formalize protections for young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, and end the Trump administration's policy of separating migrant families at the border.

First Lady Melania Trump weighed in on the issue through a statement in which she said she "hates to see children separated from their families," adding that this should be "a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.