Trump Claims Democrats to Blame for Policy Separating Children From Parents at Border

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US President Donald Trump smiles after addressing the US Naval Academy graduating class on May 25, 2018 in Annapolis, Maryland. In recent days, the president has repeatedly place blame on Democrats for issues relating to immigration and gang violence. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump once again took aim against Democrats over immigration and MS-13 in a tweet Saturday morning. The president claimed Democrats were to blame for a policy that separates children from their parents at the border and accused them of protecting the violent street gang.

"Put pressure on the Democrats to end the horrible law that separates children from there [sic] parents once they cross the Border into the U.S. Catch and Release, Lottery and Chain must also go with it and we MUST continue building the WALL! DEMOCRATS ARE PROTECTING MS-13 THUGS," Trump tweeted.

The president was likely referencing his administration's announcement that it would take a tougher approach to families entering the U.S. illegally.

In early May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced more stringent consequences for those crossing the border illegally. "If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law," Sessions said.

The administration hopes to achieve 100 percent prosecution for all those who enter the country illegally. Parents charged with illegal entry will be turned over to U.S. marshals, while their children will be transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, NBC News reported.

The attorney general's announcement came on the heels of a FRONTLINE report that revealed that the Department of Health and Human Services had lost track of nearly 1,500 of the 7,635 unaccompanied minors it attempted to locate between October 2016 and December 2017.

President Trump also railed against protecting unaccompanied minors earlier this week. On Wednesday, the president and several administration officials claimed that unaccompanied migrant children eventually turn to gang violence in the U.S., including joining MS-13.

"They look so innocent. They're not innocent," Trump said during a roundtable at the Morrelly Homeland Security Center. According to The Washington Post, the president claimed immigrants are exploiting "the loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors."

Deputy General Rod J. Rosenstein echoed those claims, saying, "We're letting people in who are creating problems. We're letting people in who are gang members. We're also letting people in who are vulnerable." Rosenstein said that migrant children who do not have a support system in the U.S. become "vulnerable to [gang] recruitment."

The Trump administration has taken on tackling a growing MS-13, while also blaming Democrats for its growth. On Friday, Trump claimed Democrats have come to the defense of MS-13 "thugs," a remark the The New York Times has said is "false."