Washington: US President Donald Trump, facing bipartisan pushback, has backed down from restarting the much-criticized practice of separating migrant children from their families at the US southern border with Mexico.
The US administration in Washington separated more than 2,500 children from their families last year before international outrage forced Trump to halt the practice and a federal judge ordered them reunited.
“We’re not looking to do that,” Trump told reporters during an Oval Office event on Tuesday, but he also claimed that the policy was an effective means of stemming border crossings and compared migrant families entering the US to visitors to an amusement park.
“Once you don’t have it, that’s why you see many more people coming. They’re coming like it’s a picnic, because let’s go to Disneyland,” he said.
During the event, the US president dodged responsibility for the separations and instead accused his predecessor, former President Barack Obama, of implementing the policy to separate migrant children from their families and building “cages” for them.
“Just so you understand, President Obama separated the children,” Trump told reporters. “Those cages that were shown, I think they were very inappropriate, they were built by President Obama’s administration, not by Trump. President Obama separated children, they had child separation…I’m the one that stopped it.”
The Trump administration’s policy of “zero tolerance” in May last year resulted in thousands of children being separated from their parents at the southern border and placed into custody.