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Trump defends separating immigrant families amid outcry

June 19, 2018 4:12 pm

US President Donald Trump has defended his policy of splitting up families entering the US illegally, defying a growing chorus of condemnation.

Speaking at a business convention, Mr Trump said children have to be taken away if their parents are jailed for illegally crossing the US border.

The president had earlier sparked outrage for tweeting that undocumented immigrants would “infest” the US.

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Mexico’s foreign minister has called the US policy “cruel and inhuman”.

“I don’t want children taken away from parents,” Mr Trump said on Tuesday during a speech at a National Federation of Independent Businesses event in Washington DC.

But he added: “When you prosecute the parents for coming in illegally – which should happen – you have to take the children away.”

He also claimed that separating families was “the only solution” to end illegal immigration, even as he noted that he does not support the practice.

Mr Trump said he wanted to “end the border crisis” by giving border officials the resources to “detain and remove illegal immigrant families altogether”.

US immigration officials say 2,342 children have been separated from 2,206 parents from 5 May to 9 June.

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