President Trump warned migrant families Tuesday that the best way to prevent losing their children is “don’t come to our country illegally.”

“I have a solution — tell people not to come to our country illegally,” Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House. “That’s the solution. Don’t come to our country illegally. Come like other people do. Come legally.”

He was responding to a question about how the government will reunite about 3,000 illegal immigrant children who were separated from their families at the southern border.

“We have laws, we have borders. Don’t come to our country illegally. It’s not a good thing,” Mr. Trump said.

The family-separation issue has prompted protests around the country against the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The president chided protesters.

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“The people that are fighting ICE, it’s a disgrace,” Mr. Trump said. “These people go into harm’s way, there is nobody under greater danger than the people from ICE. We want to support ICE, not do what the Democrats are doing.”

He said Democrats “want open borders, and they don’t mind crime.”

“We want no crime, and we want borders where borders mean something,” he said. “Remember this — without borders, you do not have a country.”

The president was departing for a week-long trip to Europe, including meetings with NATO officials and with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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