WASHINGTON, July 3 (Xinhua) -- As recent polls show that U.S. voters see immigration as the most important issue facing the United States, U.S. President Donald Trump has been unwavering to stay tough on his handling of a migrant crisis on the U.S.- Mexico border.
"Our Border Patrol people are not hospital workers, doctors or nurses. The Democrats bad Immigration Laws, which could be easily fixed, are the problem. Great job by Border Patrol, above and beyond. Many of these illegals aliens are living far better now than where they came from, and in far safer conditions..." Trump tweeted on Wednesday to fire back criticism from Democrats and activists over the border patrol and the dismal conditions in detention centers.
"No matter how good things actually look, even if perfect, the Democrat visitors will act shocked & aghast at how terrible things are. Just Pols. If they really want to fix them, change the Immigration Laws and Loopholes. So easy to do!" the president argued.
"If illegal immigrants are unhappy with the conditions in the quickly built or refitted detentions centers, just tell them not to come. All problems solved!" he added.
The comments came after a ProPublica report detailing disturbing posts made by Border Patrol agents in a private Facebook group, and an internal report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) showing little progress in conditions at the detention centers run by Border Patrol and its parent agency Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Wednesday ordered a probe into "disturbing & inexcusable" social media posts about migrants and Democratic lawmakers that were allegedly made in a private Facebook group by current and former border patrol officers.
The report by DHS inspector general's office said the investigators visited five Border Patrol facilities and two ports of entry in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, describing standing room only cells for migrants, who were not fed hot meals or given showers. The Border Patrol was holding about 8,000 detainees at the time of the visit.
The investigators observed "serious overcrowding and prolonged detention" of migrant children, families and single adults that required immediate attention, said the report with images of migrants pressing notes to cell windows pleading for help.
The Democratic lawmakers who have visited the detention centers in Texas also said the asylum seekers were kept in cells without running water and slept on concrete.
Though facing public backlash over the conditions in Border Patrol facilities, Trump appeared unwavering.
The president said on Monday that the delayed 10-city raids on illegal immigrants will begin after the July 4 holiday despite concerns about more family separations.
"After July 4, a lot of people are going to be brought back out," Trump told reporters in the White House.
The raids, planned by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), was set to target up to 2,000 migrant families facing deportation orders in 10 cities including Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Miami, New York and San Francisco, based on cases filed in 10 immigration court locations.
The Trump administration has also sent out a batch of notices across the country to targeted individuals ordering them to pay fines of up to nearly 500,000 U.S. dollars for "failing to depart the U.S. as previously agreed," among other factors, according to government documents obtained by NPR.
Immigration has surpassed health care as the issue that voters see as the most important facing the United States, a new survey shows.
Forty-two percent of registered voters pointed to immigration as the top issue, compared to 38 percent who chose health care, the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey released on Tuesday found.
Older people were more likely to pick immigration as their top issue, with 55 percent of voters aged 65 and above saying so. However, only 25 percent of voters aged 18-24 chose immigration as the most important issue, according to the poll.