President Donald Trump expressed skepticism Monday about women and children who joined groups of migrants storming the border.
“In some cases, you know, they’re not the parents,” Trump said after he was asked by reporters about pictures of women and children running away from the tear gas deployed by United States border enforcement officials on Sunday.
“These are people, they call ’em grabbers,” he said. “They grab a child because they think they’ll have a certain status by having a child.”
Trump commented on the incident while speaking to reporters after hosting a roundtable meeting on prison reform in Mississippi.
He questioned why any parent would take their child to a place where they could be endangered by violence from migrants trying to rush the border.
“When you know there’s going to be potential violence, you know there’s going to be tear gas or something, you don’t take your child and bring them there,” he said.
Trump repeated that some migrants traveled with minors because they felt it gave them better chances of successfully entering the United States.
“I can say that all over the border you have a lot of grabbers, you have a lot of people that grab children and they have no idea who these children are,” Trump said. “They’re not parents. They have no idea. And frankly, to release the children to these people is a disaster.”
Border officials have noted an increase of adults traveling with minors trying to claim asylum in the United States, despite not having proof that they are the parents.