Asked Tuesday about his administration missing a court-imposed deadline to reunite migrant children under age 5 with their parents, President Trump said he had “a solution.”
“Tell people not to come to our country illegally,” Trump told reporters. “That’s the solution. Don’t come to our country illegally. Come like other people do. Come legally.”
Trump’s comments about fallout from his administration's “zero tolerance” policy on immigration came as he prepared to leave the White House on a week-long trip to Europe.
A Department of Justice lawyer acknowledged Monday that the administration would not be able to reunite all the roughly 100 children under age 5 in federal custody by the Tuesday deadline imposed by a judge in California.
In some cases, the lawyer said, parents have been deported or are in jail facing criminal charges, requiring more time for reunification.
Trump, who has previously advocated denying due process for migrant families accused of crossing the southern border illegally, also brushed off a reporter’s question about whether he was calling for punishing children.
“I’m saying this: We have laws,” he said. “We have borders. Don’t come to our country illegally. It’s not a good thing.”