Below, Jamiel Shaw, standing at the podium, tells a Trump audience about the 2008 murder of his teenaged son who was shot and killed near his home by an exceptionally violent illegal alien gangster who nevertheless had been released onto Los Angeles streets instead of deported. Others on the stage are holding pictures of their relatives also killed by unlawful foreigners.
Job #1 for government is supposed to be public safety. But Washington is willfully failing that task, and Trump’s attention to illegal alien crime reminds the public of how little Obama & co. care about keeping citizens safe from the world’s criminals.
Donald Trump Wins Support From Parents of Illegal Immigrants’ Victims, Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2016
GOP candidate’s effort parallels Hillary Clinton’s outreach to mothers of African-Americans killed in gun violence
Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump is giving a national platform to parents of victims of crimes by illegal immigrants, inviting them to rallies and telling their tragic stories to boost support for hard-line immigration policies.
The families help put a sympathetic face on Mr. Trump’s rhetoric branding Mexican immigrants as criminals and his plans to build a wall along the southern border and to deport millions of people who are here illegally. Those parents who are black and Hispanic also offer Mr. Trump political cover from allegations of racial and ethnic prejudice, most recently for accusing a Mexican-American judge of being biased against him.
Mr. Trump also is drawing intense media attention to what they see as public-safety issues caused by illegal immigration.
Sabine Durden told thousands of people at a Trump rally in Anaheim, Calif., two weeks ago about her 30-year-old son, Dominic, a sheriff’s dispatcher who was killed in a 2012 motorcycle accident by an illegal immigrant truck driver convicted twice of driving under the influence.
Choking back tears, she recalled: “I heard Donald Trump on the television as I walked by talking about illegal immigration and about the cost of American lives and I screamed. Donald Trump became my life savior that day, my hero… Wanting to control the border has nothing to do with racism but all to do with law and order.”
Online video of Mr. Trump kissing and signing posters of her son and other crime victims after the rally has been viewed more than 230,000 times.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Trump said meeting the parents of children killed by illegal immigrants “reinforced even more” his support for stringent immigration laws.
“Even I didn’t realize how bad it was,” he said. “When you see these families that have been destroyed by people who aren’t supposed to be here, who are criminals…The only way people can understand how severe this crisis is to see the families, and then they see the horror of it.”
Mr. Trump’s kinship with these grieving parents parallels Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s ties to several mothers of African-Americans killed in gun violence or in confrontations with police, including Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown. The “mothers of the movement” have campaigned with Mrs. Clinton to push tougher gun-control laws and raise awareness about racial profiling.
The grieving families that the leading presidential candidates bring on stage reflect divergent views of America: Mrs. Clinton sees communities, particularly urban areas, awash in gun violence in which minorities are disproportionately the victims, while Mr. Trump sees a porous border leading to crimes by immigrants from Mexico and the Middle East against insufficiently armed U.S. citizens.
Two weeks after he flagged crime by illegal immigrants in his June 16, 2015, campaign announcement, 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle was slain in San Francisco, allegedly by a felon who had been deported five times. Mr. Trump quickly seized on the murder as proof that his focus on border security was on track.
Ms. Steinle’s brother, Brad, told CNN in July that Mr. Trump was “sensationalizing” her death. The Steinle family this week declined a request for comment on Mr. Trump through attorney Frank Pitre.“The Steinle family does not wish to involve itself in any political debate over immigration,” he said.
Mr. Trump did find an ally in Jamiel Shaw, whose 17-year-old son was gunned down in 2008 by a gang member living illegally in the U.S. “Donald Trump was right on,” Mr. Shaw told Fox News at the time. “Donald Trump is like speaking for us, speaking for our dead.”
Mr. Trump saw the interview last July and called him. Days later, he met Mr. Shaw and other parents of children killed by illegal immigrants at a Beverly Hills, Calif., hotel.
“He told me my son’s death would not be in vain,” Mr. Shaw said.
Later that night, Mr. Shaw got a call asking him to attend Trump’s rally the next day in Phoenix. That was his first trip on the New York billionaire’s private plane. “It was awesome,” said Mr. Shaw, a Democrat-turned-independent voter who owns a gym-equipment repair company.
Mr. Trump also flew him, his sister and his mother to Las Vegas in December for a rally and nationally televised debate. While staying at the Trump International Hotel, Mr. Shaw cut a commercial for the candidate that aired in South Carolina before the Feb. 20 primary.
Shortly after the Beverly Hills meeting, Mr. Trump sent gift baskets bearing his “The Art of the Deal” book, chocolate and Trump-branded ties and cuff links to Mr. Shaw and the other families.
Mr. Shaw said he has never been contacted by any other Republican or Democratic presidential candidates. He received a letter from former President George W. Bush after his son was murdered. “Trump is the only one who called,” Mr. Shaw said. “He feels it.”
Last year’s Beverly Hills gathering was organized by Maria Espinoza,founder of the Remembrance Project, which advocates on behalf such families. The Anti-Defamation League, which opposes discrimination, said in a 2014 report that the Remembrance Project “demonizes immigrants.” Ms. Espinoza didn’t respond to repeated interview requests.
Another parent who met Mr. Trump in Beverly Hills was Don Rosenberg, whose 25-year-old son was riding his motorcycle in San Francisco when he was struck and killed by an illegal immigrant driver in 2010.
Mr. Rosenberg is grateful Mr. Trump is drawing attention to illegal immigration but said his inflammatory references to Mexicans as “rapists” muddles his message. The self-described liberal Democrat has pressed campaign advisers to offer more detailed policy plans.
“Every speech can’t be, ‘We’re going to build a wall and Mexico will pay for it. And Kate,’” said Mr. Rosenberg, referring to Ms. Steinle in San Francisco. “I wanted him to be more educated about it, so I’ve been a little disappointed.”
The retired entertainment-industry executive has become a full-time political activist, studying immigration and criminal law and lobbying elected officials. The driver who killed his son, Drew, was charged with a felony but a judge reduced the charge to a misdemeanor. He spent 43 days in jail.
“The frustration level is so intense, so I can see why some of these parents love Trump,” Mr. Rosenberg said. “There’s finally someone who seems to care.”
In the Journal interview, Mr. Trump attributed a “staggering” amount of crime to illegal immigration.
But data is scarce.
The federal government reports the ethnicity and race of offenders but not their legal status or country of origin.
“On the question of whether illegal immigrants commit crimes out of proportion to their share of the population, it’s very hard to say,” said Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors curbs on legal immigration and stricter enforcement of border security. “Trump may overstate the case statistically, though calling out the administration for failing to enforce the law is a public service.”
Mr. Camarota and other proponents of reduced immigration say President Obama has overlooked concerns about crime while issuing executive orders to forgo deporting four million people here illegally.
They often point to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report in 2011 that found an estimated 296,000 immigrants here illegally or with unknown legal status in state and local jails. That count, which includes multiple incarcerations of the same person in different jurisdictions, covers violent and nonviolent offenses. There are estimated to be 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.
Another indicator is the number of criminal deportations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. During the Obama administration, deportations of criminals convicted of violent and nonviolent crimes rose every year to a high of 225,417 in 2012 before steadily decreasing to 138,894 last year.
An ICE spokeswoman didn’t offer an explanation for the rise and fall but said the department prioritizes deportations of violent criminals.
Deportations remain at record-setting highs under President Obama, and more Mexicans are currently leaving the U.S. than entering the country, according to the Pew Research Center. Mr. Trump’s critics say his emphasis on crime tied to immigration is misguided.
“Trump’s attacks on immigrants and immigration are divisive, racist, and quite frankly, hearken back to some of the darkest periods in our nation’s history,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum Action Fund, which backs citizenship for illegal immigrants.