WASHINGTON - U.S. president Donald Trump has caused outrage by claiming illegal immigrants want to ‘infest’ the United States.
Trump hit back at critics of his ‘zero tolerance’ policy that has separated 2,300 migrant children from their parents and left many held in cages.
Critics compared his language to that of Nazi Germany, which portrayed ‘undesirable’ minority groups such as Jews and gay people as vermin.
Mr Trump tweeted: ‘Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our country.’ The comments come amid growing outrage over children taken from their parents by US officials in the past six weeks as part of a crackdown on illegal immigration over the Mexican border.
In a tweet, Mr Trump also repeated the false claim: ‘Crime in Germany is up 10% plus (officials do not want to report these crimes) since migrants were accepted. Others countries are even worse. Be smart America!’
Infants as young as two have reportedly had their shoelaces confiscated because of prison rules to prevent suicide, while photos show toddlers sleeping in cages under tin foil blankets.
An audio recording of children wailing and crying for their parents has also emerged. The row has led to growing protests in the US.
Akemi Vargas, eight, wept as she told a crowd in Phoenix, Arizona, that her father was deported before her birthday. ‘Kids like me should not be in prison. They should be free and play with their brothers and sisters,’ she said.
Amnesty International called the policy ‘spectacularly cruel’, while Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the UN’s top human rights official, urged an end to an ‘assault on common good and rights’.
UK Labour MPs David Lammy and Ed Miliband called for Mr Trump’s visit to Britain next month to be scrapped. Mr Lammy said it was ‘a tacit endorsement of the unacceptable’, while Mr Miliband called the treatment of children ‘a new low’.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn criticised the ‘tragic and shocking’ policy.
Theresa May’s spokesman did not answer when asked if the July 13 trip should be cancelled. But he said: ‘We do not separate child asylum seekers or refugees from their families. We believe we have a humane system.’(FA)