- The Washington Times - Friday, November 2, 2018

Former President Barack Obama criticized President Trump Friday for using U.S. troops as pawns in a “political stunt” to protect the southern border against migrant caravans.

Speaking at a rally for Democratic candidates in Miami, Mr. Obama attacked Mr. Trump without mentioning his name for trying to scare voters about the threat of the migrants from Central America.

“They’re telling you the existential threat to America is a bunch of poor refugees 1,000 miles away,” Mr. Obama said. “They’re even taking our brave troops away from their families for a political stunt at the border. And the men and women of our military deserve better than that.”

In 2010, Mr. Obama deployed 1,200 National Guard troops to secure the border with Mexico.

Mr. Trump has deployed about 5,200 troops to the border to serve in a support role for Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement agencies. He said he might send three times as many troops to prevent caravans of illegal migrants from entering the U.S.

The former president also blasted Mr. Trump for proposing an executive order to end birthright citizenship, which Mr. Trump says is being abused by illegal immigrants.

“A president doesn’t get to decide on his own who’s an American citizen and who’s not,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s not how the Constitution of the United States works. That’s not how democracy works.”

When he was president, Mr. Obama faced heavy criticism for taking executive action that shielded millions of younger illegal immigrants from deportation.

Mr. Trump also announced this week that in response to a surge of fraudulent asylum claims in recent years, his administration will soon require asylum-seekers to “lawfully present themselves” at a port of entry.

“Everything we’re doing is totally legal,” the president told reporters Friday. “It’s all going through the courts. But we have one of the few systems where instead of telling people you can’t come in, we take them in and we have to bring them to a court. It is the most ridiculous system in the world.”

Mr. Obama was in Florida campaigning for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Andrew Gillum.

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis, asked earlier this week if the troop deployment was a political stunt ahead of the midterm elections, told a reporter, “We don’t do stunts in this department. Thank you.”

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