Menendez Scolds Trump for Saying Illegal Immigrants Who Get DUIs Are 'Criminals'

February 11, 2019

Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) on Monday scolded Donald Trump's zero-tolerance policy toward illegal immigration, referencing the president's push to make it "criminal" for illegal immigrants to drive under the influence of alcohol.

Menendez appeared on CNN's "Situation Room," where he was asked about Matt Albence, the deputy director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), voicing his concerns over a cap on the number of beds in immigration detention centers. Albence said the Democratic proposal would be "extremely damaging to public safety."

"How do you respond?" host Wolf Blitzer asked Menendez.

"The reason that they are already 8,000 over their budgeted amount, so they're violating the budget, is because of the president's zero-tolerance policy that has turned everyone, regardless of their record, into a criminal," Menendez said. "For example, if you cross the border undocumented, he has now made you a criminal. He is creating that problem by turning people away who legitimately seek asylum."

"If a person has a driving while under the influence violation, he is now making that, saying that that's a criminal," Menendez added, before arguing that violent criminals should be "arrested" and "deported."

According to ICE's annual report, half of the 158,000 people arrested by ICE—80,730—were charged or convicted of driving under the influence in 2018, the Washington Examiner reported.

The second-highest category for arrests was for crimes related to "dangerous drugs," followed by traffic offenses.

Immigration offenses—like having been deported once before—was a common denominator for more than 63,000 of the people arrested.

More than 50,000 people taken into custody had been charged or convicted on assault.

Exactly 23,052 people had faced legal trouble for obstructing judiciary, Congress, legislature, etc.