Donald Trump appeared with families of those killed at the hands of illegal aliens during a White House event on Friday – and blamed undocumented migrants for killing thousands of Americans since 2001.
The President’s joint press conference with so-called ‘Angel’ families was an attack on critics of his controversial separation policy at the US-Mexico border that has seen over 2,000 young children taken from their distraught parents.
The ‘Angel’ families appeared to the press alongside photos of 11 loved ones who had been killed by criminals who had entered the US illegally.
Trump said he wanted to turn attention to the victims of illegal immigration and claimed that the US media has historically refused to share their stories.
“We’re gathered today to hear directly from the American victims of illegal immigration. You know you hear the other side, you never hear this side. You don’t know what is going on,” he said.
“These are the American citizens permanently separated from their loved ones. The word ‘permanently’ being the word that you have to think about. Permanently – they’re not separated for a day or two days, these are permanently separated because they were killed by criminal illegal aliens.”
The President boldly claimed that 63,000 killings were carried out by migrants over the past 20 years.
He said: “Sixty-three thousand Americans since 9/11 have been killed by illegal aliens. This isn’t a problem that’s going away; it’s getting bigger,” he said. “Sixty-three thousand, and that number they say is very low because things aren’t reported. Sixty-three thousand, and you don’t hear about that.”
Trump also hit back at suggestions that the migrant population boasted a lower crime than home-born citizens – claiming it was “impossible” that the widely-reported data was correct.
“I always hear that — ‘Oh no, the population is safer than the people that live in the country.’ You’ve heard that, fellows, right? And I say is that possible? The answer is it is not true. You hear like they are better people than what we have, than our citizens, it is not true.”
Later Trump posted a picture of the event to Twitter and demanded that politicians “end the immigration crisis once and for all.”
Critics have challenged the figures cited by Trump during his press conference on Friday.
Trump’s claim would mean that a quarter of all homicides in the US were carried out by illegal migrants, the Washington Post says
The figures were reportedly taken from a 2005 blog post by Republican congressman Steve King – later revealed to Trump by the mother of Sgt. Brandon Mendoza, killed in 2014 by a drunk driver.
“The crimes that are committed by those who enter this country illegally are in significantly greater numbers than the crimes that are committed by American citizens,” King said in the post, “to the extent that 28 percent of the inmates in our prisons in the United States are criminal aliens, 28 percent.”
King later rowed back on these claims in a 2011 article – implying that the true number was probably closer to one per day.