President Donald Trump on Wednesday said some undocumented immigrants “aren’t people” but “animals” who will be taken out of the country “at a rate that’s never happened before.”
“We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in, we’re stopping a lot of them, but we’re taking people out of the country, you wouldn’t believe how bad these people are,” Trump said during a meeting with California lawmakers and officials who oppose their state’s policies on sanctuary cities.
“These aren’t people. These are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a rate that’s never happened before,” Trump added.
Trump, who has long condemned sanctuary cities, also said the US has the “the dumbest laws on immigration in the world.”
The president’s comments reportedly came in response to a California official’s remarks on MS-13 gang members.
Trump has previously referred to unauthorized immigrants involved in gang activities as “animals.” He also famously launched his presidential campaign with a speech in which he said Mexico was sending “rapists,” criminals and drug dealers across the border.
The president’s rhetoric on immigration has been widely condemned, but his hardline stance on the issue has also generated a significant amount of support for him in various parts of the country.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday described Trump’s views on immigration as “heartless” during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“I think it is heartless. I think the entire Trump views on immigration is heartless,” the former presidential candidate said. Sanders added that the “cruelty” of Trump’s immigration policies are most evident “when you talk about the United States government separating children from their parents.”