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Trump injects immigration issue into 2018 elections debate

  • Published at 08:02 pm July 25th, 2018
File photo: Undocumented immigrants just released from detention through "catch and release"immigration policy stand at a bus station before being taken to the Catholic Charities relief center in McAllen, Texas, US, April 11, 2018 Reuters

Trump said the issue will help Republicans in November and beyond, to his own re-election campaign

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he believed that the demands by some Democrats that a US government immigration enforcement agency be shut down will help Republicans in midterm congressional elections in November.

In a speech to war veterans in Kansas City, Missouri, Trump defended the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, an arm of the Homeland Security Department that has been responsible for arresting and deporting illegal immigrants.

Some Democrats have called for the abolishment of the agency, arguing that it has overstepped its authority. A new poll by the Pew Research Center found that 44% of Americans view the agency favourably, compared to 47% who view it unfavourably.

Trump is fighting to help Republicans retain control of the House of Representatives and Senate in November 6 elections likely to be seen as a referendum on his presidency.

"Oh ICE, ICE, thank goodness for ICE," Trump said.

Trump's policy of separating illegal immigrant parents from their children added to a fierce national debate on American immigration policies. The outcry prompted Trump to abandon the separation policy.

"The Democrats want to abandon ICE. They want to end ICE," Trump said. "When you hear some of the things they are proposing you can't even understand it."

Trump said the issue will help Republicans in November and beyond, to his own re-election campaign.

"I hope they (Democrats) keep at it because we're going to have a lot of fun in four months and we're going to have a lot of fun in 2020," Trump said.

Trump later attended two political events in Kansas City to help raise money for state Attorney General Josh Hawley, the Republican candidate trying to unseat Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri in the November elections.