The Latest: Trump notes border agent’s ‘perfect English’

President Donald Trump welcomes Customs and Border Patrol agent Adrian Anzaldua, right, on stage to speak during an event to salute U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) –The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s tribute to federal immigration officials (all times local):

4:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump invited a U.S. Border Patrol agent to the podium during a White House event to pay tribute to federal immigration officials and joked that the agent could speak “perfect English.”

Trump asked the agent, Adrian Anzaldua, to discuss his apprehension of a smuggler accused of locking 78 migrants inside a truck near Laredo, Texas, about a week ago.

Trump also appeared to refer to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, as CBC during Monday’s event. CBC stands for Congressional Black Caucus, among other things.

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Trump says immigration agents are doing important, necessary work. He lambasted Democrats who have called for the abolishment of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

He said: “Most importantly let me extend my gratitude to every law enforcement professional representing ICE and CBC.”

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2:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump is using a White House event to pay tribute to federal immigration officials, returning to the fight over the U.S. southern border.

The president on Monday was honoring employees of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Customs and Border Protection. The federal agencies have been thrust into the debate over the Trump administration’s separation of migrant children from their parents after they illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump has assailed some Democratic lawmakers for seeking to abolish ICE ahead of the November midterm elections. In a letter to state and local leaders, Trump wrote that ICE workers had been subjected to a “nationwide campaign of smears, insults and attacks” by politicians “catering to the extreme elements in our society.”