The Latest: Senate Dems urge 'Americas together' policy
LIMA, Peru – The Latest on the Summit of the Americas (all times local):
Senate Democrats are urging Vice President Mike Pence to use his trip to Lima to reset relations with a region where they say President Donald Trump's immigrant-bashing rhetoric is costing the U.S. influence.
A letter written by New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez and 13 Senate colleagues says that Trump's derogatory comments about Mexican immigrants and Haiti are "damaging to critical relationships we need to promote our own national interests."
The letter also chastises the Trump administration for deep cuts in foreign aid, ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for so-called "Dreamers" and for its decision to plow ahead with plans to build a wall on the border of Mexico. The letter blames those policies for declining support for the U.S. in the region at a time China and Russia are making important inroads.
The senators encourage Trump to drop an "America First" policy they say is divisive "and embrace instead an 'Americas together' policy." They say that would "advance our strategic interests in the Western Hemisphere, engage our neighbors in a respectful manner, and build on our shared values."
A copy of the letter was provided to The Associated Press.