President Donald Trump used his weekly video address to the nation to urge the Senate to pass two immigration related bills swifty.
Trump said he had been visited this week by family members whose loved ones were killed by illegal immigrants.
“Many of these illegal immigrants had extensive criminal records and had been repeatedly deported. Every single one of these deaths was preventable.
“These beautiful American lives were stolen because our government refused to do its job. If the government had simply enforced our immigration laws, these Americans would still be alive today.”
Trump’s focus on enforcing existing immigration laws has been contentious, with democrats accusing his administration of fear mongering.
Meanwhile, policies created under the former administration led to a lack of enforcement of existing immigration laws and helped MS-13, arguably the most violent gang in the United States, further establish itself.
Trump has used the activities of gangs and other criminal incidents as emotional punctuation point on his immigration pronouncements.
This week the House of Representatives passed two bills that move Trump’s agenda forward. The first, “Kate’s Law,” increases penalties on immigrants who return illegally to the United States after having already been deported. The second takes aim at so-called “sanctuary cities” and jurisdictions where law enforcement agencies are prohibited from enforcing federal immigration laws or cooperating with federal agencies in immigration matters.
That includes not allowing prisons to notify immigration authorities of convicted criminals in detention who are in the United States illegally.
Trump said deaths due to these policies are a driving force behind his agenda.
“That is why, since the day I took the oath of office, I have been restoring the enforcement of our immigration laws and the protection and defense of our borders.”
He urged the Senate to send the bills to his desk for signature “as soon as possible.”
“We need security. We need safety in our country. And I call on members of both parties to stand united with victims to stop these terrible and senseless crimes from ever happening in the first place.
“This legislation presents a simple choice: either vote to save and protect American lives, or vote to shield and comfort criminal aliens who threaten innocent lives – and they’ve been shielded too long.”