- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 5, 2018

President Trump gave a boost Saturday to Rep. Jim Renacci’s campaign for Senate in Ohio, saying incumbent Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown was to blame for the country’s lax immigration laws.

“Our immigration laws are a disgrace,” said the president, noting the catch-and-release policy that sets illegal immigrants free in the U.S. pending a court hearing.

“This is a Democrat law — Sherrod Brown. You catch them and release,” Mr. Trump said at a Cleveland, Ohio, event to highlight the benefits of the tax cut law he signed in December.

He also railed against sanctuary cities that Democrats steadfastly defend. He said city leaders who buck federal immigration laws were engaged in “obstruction of justice.”

Mr. Trump is working to make illegal immigration a top issue in the midterm elections.

He also threatened to shut down the government in a spending fight this fall, just prior to the elections, if Democrats continue to refuse funding for a border wall.

“Even if it means closing up the country for a while, we’re going to get the wall,” said Mr. Trump.

Mr. Renacci was seated beside Mr. Trump on the dais at Cleveland Public Auditorium and Conference Center.

“I need his vote in the Senate,” said Mr. Trump, gesturing to Mr. Renacci.

He later added that Mr, Renacci, an early supporter of Mr. Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign, had his “full support.”

Mr. Trump has been touring the country to highlight the tax cuts at events, focusing on states he won in 2016 and where Democrats are vulnerable in this year’s midterm elections.

The president said the opposition from Democrats in the narrowly-divided Senate prevent funding for a border wall and for tough immigration laws, which he said also prevented the flow into the U.S. of opioids that are creating a addition epidemic in Ohio and other states.

Mr. Trump said that laws crating a weak border and weak immigration enforcement were “ingrained” in Democrats such as Mr. Brown.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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