- Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
- President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to withhold aid from countries he believes don’t prevent citizens from illegally entering the US.
- “Every time somebody comes in from a certain country, we’re going to deduct a rather large amount of money from what we give them in aid,” he said.
- Trump also doubled down on his previous comments calling members of the street gang MS-13 “animals.”
President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration is working on a plan to withhold aid money from countries that he believes don’t do enough to prevent their citizens from illegally entering the US.
“We’re going to work out something where every time somebody comes in from a certain country, we’re going to deduct a rather large amount of money from what we give them in aid – if we give them aid at all, which we may not give them aid at all,” he said.
Trump made the remarks during a roundtable discussion about immigration and the street gang MS-13 with law-enforcement officials in Long Island, the epicenter of MS-13 violence in the US.
The president assailed US laws that allowed asylum-seekers and unaccompanied minors to stay in the US pending their immigration court dates – some of whom are MS-13 members, Trump said. At one point, Trump even accused foreign nations of encouraging their nationals to illegally enter the US.
“Many of these countries we give tremendous amounts of aid to,” Trump said. “You know, they’ll let you think that they’re trying to stop this. They’re not trying to stop it – I think they encourage people from leaving. They don’t want the people that we’re getting in that country.”
- Spencer Platt/Getty Images
It wasn’t immediately clear which countries Trump was referring to, whether he was speaking about MS-13 members specifically, or unauthorized immigrants in general.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for clarification.
Trump’s announcement comes amid controversy he sparked last week when he described some unauthorized immigrants as “animals.”
His supporters argued that his remarks had been taken out of context by the media, and that he was referring only to members of MS-13.
“These aren’t people. These are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country at a rate that’s never been happened before,” Trump said last week in California.
He doubled down on the comment again at the roundtable on Wednesday, prompting cheers and applause from the audience.
“I called them animals the other day and I was met with rebuke,” Trump said. “They’re not people. There are animals, and we have to be very, very tough.”