World

Trump, congresswoman clash on immigration

By AAP Newswire

President Donald Trump has lashed out at a Democratic congresswoman who urged Americans to confront members of Trump's inner circle in public as tensions rose over the Republican president's hardline immigration policy.

Trump faced a global outcry, including criticism from some in his own Republican Party, this month over migrant children who were separated from their parents because of the administration's policy of seeking to detain and prosecute everyone caught entering the country illegally.

Maxine Waters told a crowd in her home state of California on Sunday that a decision on Friday by a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, to refuse service to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders should be a model for resisting Trump.

"If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere. We've got to get the children connected to their parents," Waters said.

Trump, who often targets Waters, reacted on Twitter, lumping her in with House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

The president has stepped up his attacks on Democrats in recent weeks as the races for congressional elections in November start coming into focus.

"Congresswoman Maxine Waters, an extraordinarily low IQ person, has become, together with Nancy Pelosi, the Face of the Democrat Party. She has just called for harm to supporters, of which there are many, of the Make America Great Again movement. Be careful what you wish for Max!" he said.

Last week, as Trump was defending his immigration policy, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was confronted at a Mexican restaurant in Washington by protesters yelling "Shame! Shame!"

Pelosi called for cooler heads on both sides.

"In the crucial months ahead, we must strive to make America beautiful again. Trump's daily lack of civility has provoked responses that are predictable but unacceptable. As we go forward, we must conduct elections in a way that achieves unity from sea to shining sea," she said.

David Axelrod, a former adviser to former Democratic president Barack Obama, also said in a tweet he disagreed with Waters' stance and people angry with Trump administration policies should "Organize, donate, volunteer, VOTE!"

The American Civil Liberties Union urged a federal judge in San Diego on Monday to block the administration from routinely separating unauthorised immigrant parents from their children.

A brief filed by the ACLU contained numerous reports of parents unable to locate or communicate with their children after they were separated by border officials.

In one declaration filed with the brief, a mother identified only by her initials E.J.O.E. said that "the government told her that she would be reunited with her son if she renounced her statement of fear", a first step in asking for asylum. The mother did so, but was then deported without her eight-year-old son.

Trump has expressed frustration at laws granting due process to illegal immigrants and reiterated on Monday that people should be turned away at the border.