Sen. Dick Durbin said Tuesday that an “unstable” President Donald Trump “ought to be ashamed of himself” for taking Twitter slaps at young undocumented immigrants over the weekend in order to shore up prospects for his “whacko” border wall.
At the same time, the Illinois Democrat defended Trump’s right to send troops to the border to enforce immigration laws, but suggested the president was unnecessarily “escalating” national tensions over immigration.
The president said Tuesday he plans to send the military to guard the Mexican border against illegal immigrants until he can build a wall.
That followed an Easter Sunday tweet from Trump demanding tougher immigration laws and declaring: “NO MORE DACA DEAL!”
It was the president’s attack on immigrants covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that prompted Durbin to schedule a news conference here to defend DACA for the second time in a week.
Trump has already declared an end to the program, but federal courts have ordered it kept in place for current recipients.
Durbin argued Trump was guilty of “either willful ignorance or deliberate misrepresentation” for suggesting that DACA continues to draw illegal immigrants to the U.S. because the program only provides protections to those who have been living here continually since 2007.
“No one can come to the United States border, present themselves and claim DACA protection,” said Durbin, who has been a champion of the program to defend young immigrants from its inception. He was joined at the news conference by two so-called “Dreamers” who came to the U.S. illegally as young children — one a newly licensed lawyer and the other a physician’s assistant.
Durbin said congressional negotiators tried to bargain with the president previously.
“We offered him his $25 billion whacko wall” in exchange for protection for DACA recipients, but the president wasn’t satisfied with the deal, Durbin said.
Asked about Trump saying Tuesday he will be “doing some things” on the border with the military, Durbin noted that both Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush had done so previously.
“There are times when troops on the border can be important,” Durbin told reporters. “I don’t know the circumstances here, but I suspect what’s going on quite honestly is he’s reacting to another Fox TV News report about caravans of undocumented and illegal people coming to the U.S.,” Durbin said, arguing the caravan story has been overblown.
“I think what the president is doing is escalating the situation, this tension, this fear and hatred that we have from many people coming out of his administration. We don’t need that,” he added later.
Durbin said he’s still willing to negotiate with the president on immigration but said it is difficult.
“He is unreliable. He is unprepared. And he is unstable.”
Border Patrol Agents are not allowed to properly do their job at the Border because of ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws like Catch & Release. Getting more dangerous. “Caravans” coming. Republicans must go to Nuclear Option to pass tough laws NOW. NO MORE DACA DEAL!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2018
Mexico is doing very little, if not NOTHING, at stopping people from flowing into Mexico through their Southern Border, and then into the U.S. They laugh at our dumb immigration laws. They must stop the big drug and people flows, or I will stop their cash cow, NAFTA. NEED WALL!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2018
These big flows of people are all trying to take advantage of DACA. They want in on the act!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 1, 2018
Mexico has the absolute power not to let these large “Caravans” of people enter their country. They must stop them at their Northern Border, which they can do because their border laws work, not allow them to pass through into our country, which has no effective border laws.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2018
...Congress must immediately pass Border Legislation, use Nuclear Option if necessary, to stop the massive inflow of Drugs and People. Border Patrol Agents (and ICE) are GREAT, but the weak Dem laws don’t allow them to do their job. Act now Congress, our country is being stolen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2018
DACA is dead because the Democrats didn’t care or act, and now everyone wants to get onto the DACA bandwagon... No longer works. Must build Wall and secure our borders with proper Border legislation. Democrats want No Borders, hence drugs and crime!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2018
Mexico is making a fortune on NAFTA...They have very strong border laws - ours are pathetic. With all of the money they make from the U.S., hopefully they will stop people from coming through their country and into ours, at least until Congress changes our immigration laws!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2018