After Mr Trump said over the weekend he was giving legislators two weeks to come up with an asylum and border security deal before he started deportations from 10 cities, Ms Pelosi said the president’s actions were “outside the circle of civilised human behaviour”.
Speaking at the Elmhurst Hospital Centre in the New York borough of Queens, the speaker of the House said she spoke to the president last Friday evening for 12 minutes, during which she asked him to call off the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids.
“When I saw that the president was going to have these raids — I mean, it was so appalling,” she said. “It’s outside the circle of civilised human behaviour to just be kicking down doors, splitting up families.”
She added: “When I spoke to the president, ‘I said look, I’m a mom, I have five kids, seven, nine grandchildren and children are scared, you’re scaring the children of America, not just in those families but their neighbours and their communities’.”
A week ago, Mr Trump said on Twitter that immigration officers were planning to make mass arrests starting next week.
“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States,” Mr Trump tweeted. “They will be removed as fast as they come in.”
Commentators pointed out such raids are not usually given advance warning, leading to suggestions the president may have been making the threat for political reasons.
A total of ten cities where the raids were due to take place were identified, among them Miami, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Chicago.
On Saturday, Mr Trump, who was at the presidential retreat at Camp David, Maryland, said he was suspending the raids for two weeks to give Democrats and Republicans a chance to come up with an alternative.
While many of Mr Trump’s supporters admire his hardline stance on immigration, his splitting up of families from Central America at the southern US border has received global condemnation.
On Monday, it was reported, the Trump administration had removed hundreds of children from a remote border patrol station in Texas following reports the youngsters were detained there without adequate food, water or sanitation.
Just 30 children remained at the facility near El Paso, according to local Democratic congresswoman Veronica Escobar, who said her office had been briefed by federal officials.
Democrats and Republicans have long been unable to find middle ground on immigration that can pass Congress. Many doubt whether they will be able to reach a deal within just two weeks.
Additional reporting by Associated Press
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