Since day one, illegal immigration has been a central issue of Donald Trump’s campaign. The GOP presidential candidate’s proposals, which many have deemed extreme, include everything from ending birthright citizenship to mass deportations to building a giant wall on the country’s southern border. On Saturday, Trump said he was “shining a national spotlight" on the dangers of illegal immigration, and how it has resulted in the deaths of Americans.
“Every day our border remains open, innocent Americans are needlessly victimized and killed […] Every day we fail to enforce our laws, in a day—and this is absolutely happening all the time—is a day when a loving parent is at risk of losing their child,” Trump told an audience in Houston. “Not one more American life should be given up in the name of open borders.”
The event was hosted by The Remembrance Project, an organization dedicated to the remembrance of Americans killed by illegal immigrants. The group also advocates for stricter immigration laws; however, according to PBS Newshour, it has come under fire for making wildly exaggerated claims. For example, the organization’s founder, Maria Espinoza, has stated immigrants who are here illegally kill 25 citizens a day.
Similarly, Trump has faced severe backlash for his comments regarding illegal immigrants. During his campaign kick-off speech last year, he claimed Mexico was sending druggies and rapists to this country—a comment many people deemed racist. That stance eventually resulted in lost business deals and partnerships; however, he has remained tough on the issue.