President Donald Trump is drawing criticism after referring to some people who cross the border illegally as "animals."
During a White House roundtable discussion on immigration, Trump said, "You wouldn't believe how bad these people are. These aren't people. These are animals," as reported by the Associated Press (AP).
Trump made the remark after a comment from law enforcement about trying to stop people at the border, including MS-13 gang members.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded on Twitter, saying, "When all of our great-great-grandparents came to America they weren't "animals," and these people aren't either."
The focus of the roundtable meeting was a California law that took effect this year that bars police from asking people about their immigration status or from helping federal agents with immigration enforcement. Trump and Republicans have railed against that law.
President Trump has often conflated the gang with immigrants in general. His most recent comment, loaded with echoes of Nazi language about Jews, was swiftly condemned by Democrats.
"Immigrants are human beings. Not animals, not criminals, not drug dealers, not rapists. They are human beings," said Colorado Congressman Jared Polis. California Governor Jerry Brown said "Trump is lying on immigration, lying about crime and lying about the laws of California." "Flying in a dozen Republican politicians to flatter him and praise his reckless policies changes nothing. We, the citizens of the fifth largest economy in the world, are not impressed," he said.