Over the past few weeks, Trump has come under fire from Democratic lawmakers and civil rights activists who paid visits to some detention centers along the southern border with Mexico, where migrants are locked up in overcrowded buildings and suffer from inadequate access to food, water and other basic commodities.
“If Illegal Immigrants are unhappy with the conditions in the quickly built or refitted detentions centers, just tell them not to come. All problems solved!” Trump wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
“Our Border Patrol people are not hospital workers, doctors or nurses,” the Republican president said earlier in another tweet. “Great job by Border Patrol, above and beyond. Many of these illegals (sic) aliens are living far better now than where they … came from, and in far safer conditions.”
The Republican president has made cracking down on illegal immigration a key part of his first-term agenda after campaigning on the issue ahead of the 2016 election.
On Tuesday, the US Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general released photos of detention centers in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley on Tuesday that were crammed with twice as many people as they were meant to hold.
Democratic US Representative Joaquin Castro said after a visit to the border this week that detainees had been not been allowed to bathe for two weeks, were deprived of medication and locked in areas with broken water faucets.
“It’s clear that their human rights were being neglected,” the Texas lawmaker told reporters in a conference call.
Criticism of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency grew this week after reports revealed the existence of a private Facebook group that current and former agents used to post offensive anti-immigrant comments.
Migrant women in US told to ‘drink out of toilets’US Border Patrol agents are telling migrant women to “drink out of toilets” in their cells, lawmaker says after visiting detention centers.
In reaction to the growing criticism, Acting Department of Homeland Security chief Kevin McAleenan ordered an investigation into the “disturbing” posts.
Following the revelations, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for the acting head of the CBP and other top leaders at the agency to be fired.
Despite the criticisms, however, the Trump administration has insisted on pushing ahead with its harsh anti-immigration policies, which includes keeping thousands of asylum seekers in custody while they pursued their cases.
On Wednesday, the White House sharply criticized a ruling by a federal judge in Seattle to block the detention policy.
“The decision only incentivizes smugglers and traffickers, which will lead to the further overwhelming of our immigration system by illegal aliens,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and immigrant rights groups in April to challenge Attorney General William Barr’s announcement that asylum seekers who entered the US illegally were not eligible for bond.
Also on Wednesday, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco refused to lift an injunction barring the administration from using $2.5 billion to build a border wall barrier that Congress has long kept Trump from making.
Unscathed by the immense pressure, Trump on Wednesday thanked Mexico for cracking down on immigration on its side of the border, which led to a 30-percent decline in arrests on US soil as part of a deal with Washington to avoid trade tariffs.
“Mexico is doing a far better job than the Democrats on the Border. Thank you Mexico!” Trump said Wednesday on Twitter.