Houston: Donald Trump said that thousands of criminals who are undocumented immigrants or have overstayed their entry visas are putting the nation at risk, and characterized Democrat Hillary Clinton’s immigration plan as creating “grave peril."
“Hillary Clinton is the first person to ever run for the presidency of a country effectively proposing to abolish the borders around that country," the Republican presidential candidate said in Houston at an event held by the Remembrance Project, a non-profit group that advocates for families whose loved ones were killed by undocumented immigrants.
Speaking in sombre tones from a teleprompter, Trump, 70, said Clinton wants to “give lifetime welfare and entitlements to illegal immigrants." Members of the group joined him on stage.
According to the plan laid out on her website, Clinton would introduce “comprehensive immigration reform" if elected, including a pathway to “full and equal" citizenship for many undocumented immigrants. The plan also calls for detaining and deporting “individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety."
The real estate developer turned politician has made cracking down on undocumented immigrants a cornerstone of his campaign. He’s said repeatedly that he plans to build a wall along the US border with Mexico, and make Mexico pay for it. During his campaign he has labelled some Mexican immigrants “rapists."
Trump hinted how he’ll use the issue during the upcoming presidential debates, which he said would make for an “interesting" time. The first Trump-Clinton debate is scheduled for 26 September.
“When Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, the matter of this country refusing to take back their deported citizens came before Hillary Clinton’s desk,“ Trump said. “She failed to take forceful action, and ignored the federal law requiring her to suspend visas to countries that don’t take back their citizens."
Trump specifically alluded to Thong Vang, who was accused of shooting two police officers in Fresno, California, this month. Vang, a native of Laos, was paroled in 2014 after being convicted in 1998 of raping three underage girls as part of a gang. He served 16 years in prison.
“This individual had been convicted for child rape and was slated to be deported—but his home country refused to take him back, so he was simply released," Trump said. Vang, 37, came to the US as a refugee when he was a year old.
Citing a Boston Globe report, Trump said that from 2008 through 2014, nearly 13,000 criminal aliens were released back into US communities because their home countries wouldn’t take them back. “And they’re all roaming the streets," Trump said.
Trump will hold a rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, later on Saturday. The appearances come as polls between Trump and Clinton show a statistical dead heat. RealClearPolitics shows Clinton up by 1.5 percentage points based on recent surveys.
On Friday, the Republican said at a rally in Miami that Clinton’s bodyguards should disarm and “see what happens to her," the latest instance of Trump appearing to invite violence against his opponent. Clinton’s campaign condemned the comment, and used it on Saturday as a fund-raising hook.