Photo of Donald Trump

Remarks at the Remembrance Project Luncheon at the Omni Houston Hotel at Westside in Houston, Texas

September 17, 2016

Thanks, Maria, for that introduction, and for the work you and your organization do to honor these stolen American lives – and to advocate for justice on behalf of all American victims.

I am honored to be here today and to shine a national spotlight on a group of victims who have been forced into the shadows. Your stories are not featured in the news, you have no demonstrators taking to the streets on your behalf, you have no special interests taking up your cause, and politicians ignore your cries for help. But I never will.

I have met many incredible people during the course of this campaign. But nothing has moved me more deeply than the time I've spent with the families of the Remembrance Project, and the incredible strength and courage you've shown in your often lonely fight for justice.

You are heroes. And your actions will help us to save the next thousand American citizens from losing their brothers, sisters, sons, daughters or parents.

The most fundamental duty of government is to protect American lives. Anyone who fails to understand this is not fit to hold public office.

Every day our border remains open, innocent Americans are needlessly victimized. Every day Sanctuary Cities are left in place, innocent Americans are put in harm's way. Every day we fail to enforce our laws is a day when a loving parent is at risk of losing their child.

It's happening every single day.

All across this country, dining room tables have an empty seat at the family dinner table, because our government abandoned its duty and failed to enforce the laws.

There are a lot of numbers in the immigration debate. But let me give you the most important number of all. That most important number of all is the number of American lives it is acceptable to lose in the name of illegal immigration. Let me tell you what that number is: ZERO.

Our nation should not accept one lost American life because our country failed to enforce its laws. What do you tell to the mother, who just buried her daughter, because someone was released at the border who should have been sent home?

What do you tell to the young boy, who will grow up without a dad, because a criminal was deported five times but was allowed to keep coming back into the country?

What do you tell the wife, who has lost her husband, because a Sanctuary City released an illegal immigrant from behind bars?

This must end. And it must end right now. Not one more American life should be given up in the name of open borders.

Just look at what's happened in the last few days.

Last week it was reported that authorities detained an illegal immigrant in the Austin area who is responsible for nearly a dozen sexual assaults and had been previously deported five times within a three-year period.

Earlier this week, in Kansas, a Sheriff's Department Master Deputy was killed, apparently by an illegal immigrant. The driver was previously arrested for a DUI in California in 2001 and for a traffic violation in Kansas in 2013. Deputy Collins was killed only hours after his daughter's fourth birthday.

A few days ago, two correctional officers in California were critically wounded after being shot by an illegal immigrant who overstayed his visa. 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. One of the victims has six children, is an Air Force Veteran, and a high school football coach – the other victim is a mother and a grandmother.

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. But 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.

According to a report from the Boston Globe, from the year 2008 through 2014, nearly 13,000 criminal aliens were released back into U.S. communities because their home countries would not take them back. Most of these 13,000 releases occurred on Hillary Clinton's watch – she had the power and the duty to stop it cold and she didn't do it.

Now, my opponent will never meet with you. She will never hear your stories. She will never share in your pain.

She will only meet with the donors and the special interests and the open border advocates.

Her plan calls for total amnesty in the first 100 days, which means Obamacare, Social Security and Medicare for illegal immigrants. Her plan calls for catch-and-release on the border. Sanctuary Cities. Ignoring visa overstays. Closing detention centers. And a virtual end to immigration enforcement in the United States of America.

Hillary Clinton has even announced that she plans to go around Congress and implement amnesty by executive order – violating our Constitution and putting the entire nation in 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.

But the media doesn't want you to know any of that. So they'll never ask her any questions about her plan. Like how she'll afford to give lifetime welfare and entitlements to illegal immigrants, or how many people will be victimized because of the illegal immigrants that will be released from federal custody – or at the border. She's not asked to explain what she'll say to the American workers who lose their jobs when she prints out millions of work permits for those here against the law.

Your cause, and your stories, are ignored by our political establishment because they are determined to keep our border open at any cost. To them, your presence is just too inconvenient.

But help is coming. On November 8th, we are going to win the White House and we are going to deliver justice for every American family and every American victim.

Together, we will save American lives – and prevent the next thousand American parents from suffering the same fate as the people in the room today.

Since 2013 alone, the Obama Administration has allowed 300,000 criminal aliens to return back into U.S. communities – these are individuals encountered or identified by ICE but who were not detained or processed for deportation.

According to the federal government's own data, there are more than 2 million convicted criminal illegal immigrants inside the United States right now. However, this figure does not even include the many individuals who have committed crimes but escaped justice, fled the jurisdiction, or were otherwise never caught. Many crimes committed by people here illegally remain open cases.

At the same time, hundreds of individuals who have been given visas and refugee admissions into this country have subsequently been charged with terrorism. We are admitting people here with no idea who they are or what they believe.

Whether it's drugs, terrorism or violent crime, our government is utterly failing in its core mission to defend and protect the people of this country. The Border Patrol Agents, who endorsed me, warned that Hillary Clinton's plan would put the entire country in grave danger – they called it radical, deeply dangerous, and warned it would trigger an unprecedented national crisis.

Let's just remember our goal – to prevent the next family from suffering the same terrible fate.

That is what is at stake in this election.

So I am now going to invite some of the bravest people I know to come up to the stage and speak.


These wounded American families have been alone. But they are alone no longer.

I am here standing with you. The American people are here standing with you. And come November, your long awaited day of justice will finally arrive.

NOTE: As prepared for delivery.

Donald J. Trump, Remarks at the Remembrance Project Luncheon at the Omni Houston Hotel at Westside in Houston, Texas Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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