Washington: The White House has blamed the Democrats for a heated row between Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Advisor John Bolton over immigration.
“While we are passionate about solving the issue of illegal immigration, we are not angry at one another,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement on Thursday in response to media reports that Kelly and Bolton engaged in a profanity-laced shouting match outside the oval office.
The fight allegedly took place earlier this week, as reports, citing unpublished statistics by the Department of Homeland Security, said that 16,658 family members were arrested trying to illegally cross into the US in September, the highest one-month total on record and representing an 80 per cent jump from July.
Sanders said the Democrats should shoulder the responsibility for the arrest hike.
“We are furious at the failure of Congressional Democrats to help us address this growing crisis. They should be ashamed for pushing an open borders agenda and are only doing this for strictly political reasons. Despite us having the worst laws in the world and no help from democrats, our Administration is doing a great job on the border,” Sanders said.
A tougher immigration policy was a key campaign promise of President Donald Trump in 2016.
Over the past two years, the Trump administration, along with Congressional Republicans, have made efforts to erect a wall along the US southern border and push for a merit-based immigration policy.
The efforts faced an enormous pushback from Democrats, who argue that the US should continue to welcome immigrants to benefit the US economy.
According to a recent poll, the immigration policy is one of the top concerns for voters in the upcoming midterm elections, particularly for Republican voters.