Trump Denounces Biden’s Border Policies as ‘Country-Wrecking’
Trump Denounces Biden’s Border Policies as ‘Country-Wrecking’

By Janice Hisle

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The immigration policies of President Joe Biden are “country-wrecking,” because of the number of illegal immigrants who are flooding into America and committing crimes, former President Donald Trump declared in a speech here Tuesday.

“This is country-changing, it’s country-threatening, and it’s country-wrecking,” President Trump told several hundred invited guests at the Grand Rapids Convention Center. “They have wrecked our country. But I stand before you today to declare that Joe Biden’s border bloodbath … it’s going to end on the day that I take office.”

Dozens of police officers stood alongside President Trump as he blamed President Biden’s “open border” policies for a wave of deaths, violent crimes and fatal drug overdoses blamed on illegal immigrants.

Immigration has emerged as the leading issue as President Trump, the presumed Republican nominee, prepares to face off against President Biden, the apparent Democrat nominee, in the Nov. 5 general election.

Asked to respond to President Trump’s expected remarks, Michigan Democrats accused the Trump campaign of stoking fear and division; the Biden administration reiterated its complaint that Congress has failed to take more action to improve border security.

Both camps accused President Trump of playing politics with tragedies such as the recent death of 25-year-old Ruby Garcia, whom a previously deported Mexican national is accused of killing in Grand Rapids.

But three police leaders took to the podium to back up President Trump’s assertions. Each described how badly law enforcement and citizens are being affected by illegal immigration. They said a culture of lawlessness is spreading because of it. And all three told President Trump that they need his help and they have confidence that he will close the border and restore order.

‘We Need You’

The Police Officer Association of Michigan, which represents 12,000 officers statewide, endorsed President Trump for the third time, the organization’s president, James Tignanelli, announced.

He said criminals of all types are emboldened when they see special treatment extended to illegal immigrants.

“Why would you expect people to obey the law when millions are rewarded for disobeying it?” he said.

Frequently turning to face President Trump as he spoke, Mr. Tignanelli said police officers are demoralized as they face increasing stress, lack of respect, and the burgeoning population of illegal immigrants who commit crimes.

“We need a commander-in-chief that will give them just simple due process. … They just need to know they’ve got somebody behind them,” he said, adding, “we need you,” pointing at the former president.

He said President Trump “brought honor to every police officer” across the United States last week when the former president paid his respects to a fallen New York City officer, Jonathan Diller. “That’s a boost for all of us,” Mr. Tignanelli said, calling for the death penalty for any person convicted of killing an on-duty police officer.

Another speaker, Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott, cited two statistics that made the audience gasp.

In his county of 76,000 people, officers are witnessing two fentanyl overdose deaths per week, he said. Large quantities of that drug are trafficked into the United States from Mexico.

“It’s killing our kids, it’s poisoning our communities, it’s making the job of law enforcement professionals much more difficult,” Mr. Abbott said.

He also said 10 percent of the suspects being held in his county’s jail come from Guatemala and Mexico, and many of them are accused of “violent sex crimes,” committed against adults as well as children.

The sheriff asked people to imagine what the nationwide totals for fentanyl deaths and immigrant arrestees must look like if those are the figures his county alone is seeing.

“The open southern border is the heart of lawlessness and crime you’re witnessing. We need leadership at the national level that is willing to solve this crisis,” Mr. Abbott said. “President Trump, without a doubt, is the leader we need to get the job done.”

Allegan County Sheriff Frank Baker declared, “We have a crisis on our hands and we need help. And part of that help is going to be securing our borders.” The Texas-Mexico border is 1,283 miles away from Grand Rapids, where President Trump was speaking.

The border is also quite a distance away from Allegan County, Mr. Baker said. Nevertheless, “there’s not a day goes by, it’s not impacting what goes on in our county.”

Homicide Victims Remembered

In advance of President Trump’s remarks, his campaign staff handed out a press packet highlighting a dozen slayings that illegal immigrants have been accused of committing during the Biden administration, across several states; Ms. Garcia’s homicide was the latest. The packet included photographs of each homicide victim and circumstances surrounding each death.

During a separate interview with White House reporters, John Kirby, a top Biden national security aide, said he was unaware of Ms. Garcia’s specific case.

But Mr. Kirby extended condolences to her family and said the administration would “certainly defer to local law enforcement and investigative bodies to do the … spade work that needs to be done to figure out exactly what happened to Ruby, and to hold the perpetrators accountable for that.”

“So why don’t we let the judicial process play out here before we start making grandiose bumper-sticker comments about what this says about the border?” Mr. Kirby said.

A handout from former President Donald Trump’s campaign displayed a photograph of Ruby Garcia, 25, of Grand Rapids, Mich., as an example of a killing allegedly committed by an illegal immigrant, at a speech in Grand Rapids on April 2, 2024. (Janice Hisle/The Epoch Times)

President Trump, during his remarks, said the suspect in Ms. Garcia’s killing, Brandon Ortiz-Vite, had been deported under his administration, when tightened immigration restrictions made it “very, very hard” for deported illegal immigrants to return.

But President Trump asserted that President Biden’s policies made it easy for Mr. Ortiz-Vite to return. “And he was set loose to roam our streets” and was accused of shooting Ms. Garcia “multiple times with an illegally obtained handgun,” the former president said.

President Trump also discussed the killing of Laken Riley in Georgia, stating: “The 22-year-old nursing student in Georgia who was barbarously murdered by an illegal alien animal. The Democrats say, ‘Please don’t call them animals. They’re humans.’ I said no, they’re not humans. They’re animals.”

Later, the Biden-Harris campaign seized upon that comment and broadcast the “animals” comment by itself, without the reference to Ms. Riley’s death; the Trump campaign and online commenters called out the Biden-Harris campaign for taking the remark out of context.

Burglaries, Robberies Too

President Trump’s campaign also stated that Michiganders are being affected by other crimes blamed on illegal immigrants.

There have been reports of criminal gangs from central and south America “targeting high-end homes in Oakland County, Michigan, to commit burglaries,” the campaign news release said. And four illegal immigrants were charged with “multiple smash-and-grab robberies” at a mall in Troy, Michigan.

These instances demonstrate that “Democrats in Michigan are failing to protect Americans from the illegal immigrants and drugs pouring across our southern border,” the news release said, adding that Democrats have “created sanctuary areas” in several communities in the state. Further, the state is offering a $500 monthly payment to people who agree to house “newcomers” in their homes.

“Illegal immigrants are taking advantage of Biden’s immigration system to victimize Americans across the state,” the campaign said.

In response to those claims, the Michigan Democratic Party emailed The Epoch Times a news release alleging that President Trump’s visit to their state was “expected to spread fear and chaos based on lie after lie about immigrants and the border.”

The state Democratic Party chair, Lavora Barnes, released the following statement:

“The truth is, Donald Trump is coming here to politicize a tragic loss and lie to Michiganders’ faces about his record. When President Biden negotiated a tough, fair, and bipartisan border security deal, it was Trump who pressured his MAGA cronies to kill the bill, allowing the chaos to continue.

“No matter what he says today, Donald Trump has no interest in being part of the solution because he doesn’t care about border security. He only cares about himself and whatever he thinks makes him look good, but Michiganders know the truth: Donald Trump has nothing to offer but dangerous rhetoric that promotes hate, division, and violence without making anyone safer.”

Emel Akan contributed to this report.

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