President Donald Trump speaks at a Cabinet meeting at the White House Thursday about various items, including immigration reform. Friday, he called for Republicans to halt immigration legislation until after November's midterms. Photo by Win McNamee/UPI | License Photo
June 22 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump signaled an about-face Friday on immigration reform, calling on Congress to wait until after November's elections to ride what he called a "red wave" of new Republican lawmakers.
Trump visited lawmakers on Capitol Hill this week to discuss the subject, including its impact on migrant family separations, his long-promised border wall and DACA. At the time, he said he would support either of two GOP bills on immigration reform. Friday, he asked Republicans to wait a few months and try again.
"Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November," Trump tweeted. "Dems are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything to solves this decades old problem. We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!"
Trump's new message follows months of gridlock in Congress on immigration reform and his repeatedly blaming Democrats for the mess.
"Elect more Republicans in November and we will pass the finest, fairest and most comprehensive Immigration Bills anywhere in the world," he added in another tweet. "Right now we have the dumbest and the worst. Dems are doing nothing but Obstructing. Remember their motto, RESIST! Ours is PRODUCE!
"Even if we get 100% Republican votes in the Senate, we need 10 Democrat votes to get a much needed Immigration Bill -- & the Dems are Obstructionists who won't give votes for political reasons & because they don't care about Crime coming from Border! So we need to elect more R's!"
Friday afternoon, Trump will meet at the White House with "angel families," or those who have had relatives killed by illegal immigrants -- an issue the president has long felt strongly about.
Thursday, Republican leaders in the House rescheduled a vote on the more moderate version of two immigration bills after they rejected the more conservative variant. Lawmakers are seeking to secure more votes for the moderate bill, which was introduced by House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The bills have undergone modifications in recent days as the issue of separating migrant families at the border generated substantial controversy. Trump signed an order Wednesday to end the practice, which was part of his administration's "zero tolerance" policy.
ABC News reported Friday that hundreds of separated migrant families have been reunited since Trump signed the order.
Thursday, former FBI director James Comey told an audience in London the family separations could be the president's most harmful misstep yet -- and suggested Trump is trying to dodge the matter.
"Every so often, the giant is awakened that offends no matter where you are," he said. "It may be stirring the giant, that's why Trump ran so fast and lied so much -- one thing he is good at is sensing the giants awakening."
Trump's comments Friday came amid a report by the New York Daily News that said some facilities housing separated children are the same used for unaccompanied migrant minors, who in some cases are later being picked up by immigration agents when they turn 18.
From October through March, 466 unaccompanied minors in New York were detained by ICE agents -- an increase of more than 500 percent.
Twenty-four were detained in 2016, and 157 in 2017, the Daily News report said. Officials began noticing the phenomenon as teens turned 18 and left school.
ICE detention for migrants involve moving from foster-care type detention facilities with other children into more secure adult detention centers that resemble jails.
"You're talking about young people who are experiencing traumas, going through the journey of migration, fleeing extreme violence, and are now being put in the worst possible situation," said Bitta Mostofi, commissioner of the New York mayor's Office of Immigration Affairs.