President Donald Trump used a White House event Monday to pay tribute to federal immigration officials, returning to the fight over the U.S. southern border.
The president was honoring employees of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Customs and Border Protection.
The federal agencies have been thrust into the debate over the Trump administration’s separation of migrant children from their parents after they illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We love you, we support you, we will always have your back,” Trump said.
He added: “For America to be a strong nation, we must have strong borders.”
Trump has assailed some Democratic lawmakers for seeking to abolish ICE ahead of the November midterm elections.
In a letter to state and local leaders, Trump wrote that ICE workers had been subjected to a “nationwide campaign of smears, insults and attacks” by politicians “catering to the extreme elements in our society.”
Trump has made border security a key part of his message as he tries to maintain Republican control of Congress in the November elections.
Before the president arrived, the White House held a panel discussion on immigration with several state and local officials.
The officials pointed to the role that a secure border plays in the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking and questioned calls to abolish ICE.
Republican Sen. David Perdue of Georgia, who has worked closely with the administration on immigration legislation, said he struggled to see the point of eliminating the federal agency.
Perdue likened it to someone saying, “I want to get rid of the Marines.”
“I just think it’s unconscionable, and frankly, I think it’s downright unpatriotic and treasonous,” Perdue said.
On Monday, the White House issued a letter from the president asking state and local officials to “join with the American people” and applaud the “heroic men and women of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection” for “their sacrifice for our Nation.”
He continued, “These courageous public servants and their families deserve to know that our elected leaders at every level support them as they fulfill their oath to defend and protect the United States.”
The president went on to denounce the politicians on the Left who have publicly railed against ICE saying, “Tragically, the brave men and women of ICE have recently been subjected to a nationwide campaign of smears, insults, and attacks by politicians shamelessly catering to the extreme elements in our society that desire lawlessness and anarchy.”
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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