YUMA — President Donald Trump deflected any blame from his administration for the deaths of two Guatemalan children this month in U.S. government custody as his Homeland Security chief visited Border Patrol medical officials amid promises of more thorough health screenings for migrant children.
Instead, the president, whose administration has faced widespread criticism over the deaths, pointed the finger on Twitter at Democrats “and their pathetic immigration policies that allow people to make the long trek thinking they can enter our country illegally.”
They were his first comments on the deaths.
He also tweeted that the children were “very sick before they were given over to Border Patrol.”
The president’s comments came Saturday afternoon, the same day Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was in Yuma, Arizona, to meet with medical staff at the border.Nielsen said in a statement that “the system is clearly overwhelmed and we must work together to address this humanitarian crisis.” She called on Congress to “act with urgency.”
Her office said she was briefed in El Paso, Texas, on Friday on “recently instituted secondary medical screenings and the more thorough initial health screenings of migrants.”