Acting attorney general defends Trump immigration crackdown

December 11, 2018
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Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker speaks to area law enforcement officials at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas in Austin, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker is defending the Trump administration’s stricter immigration policies and decrying federal judges attempting to block many of them.

During a Texas visit Tuesday, Whitaker praised a crackdown aimed at drastically reducing the number of immigrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally then seek asylum because of fears of violence or persecution back home.

Whitaker called “the vast majority” of such claims “simply meritless.” He also complained that “many of the steps that we have taken to restore the rule of law” have been stopped by judges issuing nationwide injunctions — a practice he argued was unconstitutional.

Whitaker has been mentioned as a possible choice as Trump hunts for a new chief of staff to replace John Kelly. He didn’t mention that Tuesday or take questions.

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