Trump draws rebuke for ‘animal’ remark at immigration talk
WASHINGTON — While railing against California for its so-called sanctuary immigration policies, President Donald Trump referred to some people who cross the border illegally as “animals” — drawing a sharp rebuke from Democratic leaders for the harsh rhetoric.
Trump’s remark at meeting with local leaders was in response to a complaint about gang members.
“We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them,” Trump said during the immigration round table after a sheriff commented about gangs. “You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., responded on Twitter to the president, saying, “When all of our great-great-grandparents came to America they weren’t ‘animals,’ and these people aren’t either.”
Trump was joined at the Wednesday White House meeting by mayors, sheriffs and other local leaders from California who oppose the state’s immigration policies and who applauded his administration’s hard-line efforts.
“This is your Republican resistance right here against what they’re doing in California,” said Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, coopting a term used by Democrats opposed to Trump’s presidency. She, like others, said the president and his policies were far more popular in the state than people realize.
They were criticizing legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law last year that bars police from asking people about their immigration status or helping federal agents with immigration enforcement. Jail officials can transfer inmates to federal immigration authorities if they have been convicted of one of about 800 crimes, mostly felonies, but not for minor offenses.
Brown insists the legislation, which took effect Jan. 1, doesn’t prevent federal immigration officials from doing their jobs. But the Trump administration has sued to reverse it, calling the policies unconstitutional and dangerous. Some counties, including San Diego and Orange, have voted to support the lawsuit or have passed their own anti-sanctuary resolutions.
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