(CNN) – The Democratic National Committee blasted Sen. Rand Paul on Friday for criticizing the President while on a foreign trip.
"America has a proud tradition of letting politics stop at the water’s edge, but Paul doesn’t think that tradition applies to him," Michael Czin, the DNC's press secretary, said in a memo to reporters. “Regardless of political party, we do not go abroad and slam our own because of policy differences.”
In a meeting this week with the Guatemalan president, Paul blamed President Barack Obama's immigration policy for the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. southern border.
The Kentucky Republican said the administration's ruling that allows certain undocumented immigrants to delay deportation ultimately motivated thousands of children to make the dangerous trek from Central American countries to the U.S. border.
"I told him, frankly, that I didn't think the problem was in Guatemala City but that the problem was in the White House in our country, and that the mess we've got at the border is frankly because of the White House's policies," Paul told Breitbart News, referring to his meeting with President Otto Perez Molina.
The first-term senator, also an ophthalmologist, was in Guatemala performing hundreds of eye surgeries with a group of physicians. His trip came amid a busy travel year for Paul, who's seriously considering a presidential bid in 2016.
More than 60,000 children - mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador - have crossed into the U.S. illegally this year, and officials expect that total to rise to 90,000 by the year's end.
"I think what's happened at the border is all squarely at the president's lap. The problem and the solution aren't in Guatemala," Paul said. "The problem and solution reside inside the White House."
The senator said he supports a package of proposals passed by House Republicans earlier this month that would limit the administration's 2012 policy, “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” The directive allows certain children and young adults who were brought to the U.S. illegally to defer deportation for two years.
The House legislation would also tweak a 2008 anti-trafficking law, which was passed under George W. Bush’s administration and grants protections to children from Central American countries, making it difficult to deport them.
Both policies - along with violence and poverty in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras - have been attributed as the primary causes behind this year's surge of children to the U.S. border.
Responding to the DNC's comments, Paul's senior adviser Doug Stafford said the senator "did in Guatemala what he does every day in the United States - speak the truth. Career politicians and political parties don't get that, but the American people do."
"If the DNC and the White House don't see that their shredding of the Constitution and abdication of responsibility for securing our border is the problem, they are the only ones," he added.
Paul told Breitbart earlier this week that most of his meeting with the Guatemalan president was focused on his humanitarian trip. “I didn’t intend this to be a political trip,” he said. “But I’m happy to answer questions about what came up in the meeting."