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Fact Check: Trump’s blame of Democrats

“If you look at Nancy Pelosi, you look at Chuck Schumer, you’ll see tapes where they wanted to have borders, they needed to have borders for security just a short while ago. A number of years ago, I see Chuck Schumer, ‘We must have borders.’ Hillary Clinton, ‘We must have borders. If people penetrate our borders, we must get them out of our country.’

“Now, all of a sudden, they’re big open-border people. It’s a whole big con job.

“In the meantime, people are suffering because of the Democrats.” — President Trump

The president for months has been blaming Democrats for the rough treatment many immigrant families experience at the border. His argument? Because he needs 60 votes to get an immigration bill through the Senate, meaning he needs several Democrats, the entire immigration conundrum is on them.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have supported proposals to upgrade law enforcement infrastructure at the U.S.-Mexico border and increase manpower. In 2013, they supported a bipartisan plan (“comprehensive immigration reform”) that passed the Senate but failed in the Republican-controlled House.

This proposal would have opened a 13-year path to citizenship for what was then estimated as 11 million undocumented immigrants, doubled the number of Border Patrol agents to roughly 40,000, called for building 700 miles of new border fencing, and broadened the number and types of visas for legal immigrants, among other measures. There’s a big difference between this roadmap and what Trump wants: funding for a massive border wall and tightening humanitarian-relief laws governing asylum and refugee claims.

Trump essentially argues that because Democrats won’t go along with his plan, they’re abetting bad actors and smugglers who exploit U.S. immigration laws. That’s a big stretch.

“In addition, Democrat and court-ordered loopholes prevent family detention and lead to family separation, no matter how you cut it.”

The Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance policy” has been separating families at the border. Democrats haven’t forced these separations, and court rulings don’t require them, either.

Federal courts have ruled that the Department of Homeland Security may not keep minor children in immigration detention for more than 20 days. Those rulings don’t cover any parents who might have crossed the border with them. So Trump is correct that the court rulings “prevent family detention,” since children can’t be detained. However, nothing prevents the government from releasing instead of detaining families pending the resolution of their immigration claims.

Immigration updates: What’s happening in the House and Trump administration

The House plans to vote Thursday on two bills, first one considered conservative and second a compromise bill, dealing with immigration, a day after President Trump abandoned a policy that separated migrant children from their parents, creating a crisis that he had said only Congress could solve.