Donald Trump has said he will not allow the United States to become a “migrant camp”, as his administration faces a barrage of criticism for separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Democrats and some in Trump’s own Republican Party have blasted the administration for separating nearly 2,000 children from their parents at the border between mid-April and the end of May.
Medical professionals have said the practice could cause lasting trauma to children.
The family separations are the result of the administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that arrests all adults who are caught trying to enter the United States illegally, including those seeking asylum.
While parents are held in jail, their children are sent to separate detention facilities.
Video footage released by the government showed migrant children held in wire cages, sitting on concrete floors.
Trump, who has made a tough stance on immigration a major goal of his presidency, responded sharply to critics on Monday.
“The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility. It won’t be.
“You look at what’s happening in Europe, you look at what’s happening in other places – we can’t allow that to happen to the United States, not on my watch,” Trump said.
He was speaking at the White House while announcing an unrelated policy.