By Yeganeh Torbati
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump lashed out on Monday at a Democratic congresswoman who urged Americans to confront members of Trump's inner circle in public as tensions rose over the Republican president's hardline immigration policy.
Trump faced a global outcry, including criticism from some in his own Republican Party, this month over migrant children who were separated from their parents because of the administration's policy of seeking to detain and prosecute everyone caught entering the country illegally.
The president caved on Wednesday, issuing an executive order that ended the separations at the U.S.-Mexico border. But political tensions are still running high as the two-month-old "zero tolerance" policy remains in place, raising questions about where to house families detained at the border and how to process them speedily. The government has yet to reunite more than 2,000 children with their parents.
Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters told a crowd in her home state of California on Sunday that a decision on Friday by a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, to refuse service to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders should be a model for resisting Trump.
"If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere. We've got to get the children connected to their parents," Waters said.
Trump, who often targets Waters, reacted on Twitter, lumping her in with House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
The president has stepped up his attacks on Democrats in recent weeks as the races for congressional elections in November start coming into focus.
"Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!" he said.
Last week, as Trump was defending his immigration policy, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was confronted at a Mexican restaurant in Washington by protesters yelling "Shame! Shame!"
Pelosi called for cooler heads on both sides.
"In the crucial months ahead, we must strive to make America beautiful again. Trump’s daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea," she said.
David Axelrod, a former adviser to former Democratic President Barack Obama, also said in a tweet he disagreed with Waters' stance and people angry with Trump administration policies should "Organise, donate, volunteer, VOTE!"
ACLU SEEKS BLOCK ON SEPARATIONS
The American Civil Liberties Union urged a federal judge in San Diego on Monday to block the administration from routinely separating unauthorised immigrant parents from their children, saying an injunction was needed because Trump's order to end separations contained "loopholes," even when children's welfare might be endangered.
A brief filed by the ACLU contained numerous reports of parents unable to locate or communicate with their children after they were separated by border officials.
In one declaration filed with the brief, a mother identified only by her initials E.J.O.E. said that “the government told her that she would be reunited with her son if she renounced her statement of fear,” a first step in asking for asylum. The mother did so, but was then deported without her 8-year-old son.
Although Republicans control both chambers in Congress, disagreements between moderates and conservatives in the party over immigration matters are dampening prospects for a speedy legislative fix to the border crisis.
Republican Representative Mark Meadows, leader of a conservative faction among House Republicans, said he expected an immigration bill that will likely be offered for a potential vote in the House some time this week would fail. This would be the second attempt in two weeks.
On Thursday the House rejected a measure favored by conservatives that would have halted the practice of splitting up families and addressed a range of other immigration issues.
Trump has expressed frustration at laws granting due process to illegal immigrants and reiterated on Monday that people should be turned away at the border. Democrats have accused him of wanting to circumvent the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of due process for those accused of crimes.
(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Doina Chiacu; Additional reporting by Richard Cowan; Writing by Steve Holland; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Frances Kerry)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
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Updated Date: Jun 26, 2018 05:06:35 IST