Business mogul and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump may have surprised some people when he recently told an estimated 2,000 people attending the FreedomFest conference in Las Vegas that he loved “legal” immigrants, Mexico, and Mexicans.
But Trump said he favors building a wall to protect the U.S. border with Mexico as a way to prevent people from entering the United States illegally, especially those who were criminals in their native countries and are prone to engage in illicit activities in America such as drug and gun-related offenses, as well as murder. One of the most powerful moments occurred when Trump personalized his point about the consequences of illegal immigration by inviting Jamiel Shaw Sr., the father of a 17-year-old high school student who was shot to death by a Mexican who crossed the U.S. border illegally, to talk about the loss of his son, Jamiel Shaw Jr.
The son was a star running back at Los Angeles High School and a good student who was applying to Stanford University, among other four-year schools, before his murder.
“My son was murdered by someone illegally here in the country,” recalled Shaw Sr. The killer, Pedro Espinoza, had just been released from jail and shot the high school student in his head and in his stomach just a few doors away from his home after a Sunday afternoon trip to a local shopping mall in the Los Angeles area.
Shaw Sr. told the audience that he called his son on the telephone shortly before he heard the two gun shots fired by Espinoza. By the time the father rushed to his son’s side, the boy, whose life moments earlier had been filled with immense promise, was lying on the sidewalk dead.
“The guy who did it was released twice previously on gun charges,” Shaw Sr. said.
Almost the same day the killer was let out of jail on a gun charge, the Mexican drug mafia was issuing an order for the shooter to commit crimes in the black neighborhood where the Shaw family lived, the father said. The killer was convicted and sentenced to death in 2012 in a Los Angeles courtroom.
Forensic evidence found that the high school student put his hands up but the illegal alien shot him twice anyway with a high-caliber handgun. The fatal shot was fired while the boy was on his back lying on the ground, Shaw Sr. said.
“That is the original hands up, don’t shoot,” Shaw Sr. said.
Despite the criticism Trump has received for speaking out about porous U.S. borders that let criminals enter the United States illegally through Mexico, Shaw Sr. said he viewed the presidential candidate’s comments as a sign of hope that positive change is coming.
“You can’t keep the same path,” Shaw Sr. said. “Mr. Trump is willing to go out and sacrifice his own life. He loves America and he wants to make it good again.”
Trump reported to the FBI in the days following his July 11 speech that he received threats via Tweeter from recently escaped Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, after the outlaw fled a maximum security Mexican prison through a one-mile tunnel that opened into his cell’s shower area.
Despite criticism of the real estate mogul’s previous comments about illegal immigration, Trump is the kind of man who you would want to be your dad, Shaw Sr. said.
“You trust him that he knows what’s good for you,” Shaw Sr. told attendees about Trump, who he described as a “nice guy.”
Those of think a wealthy man such as Trump will not be able to appeal to minority voters may be surprised, Shaw Sr. said.
“In my community, a lot of my friends are liberal but they are ready to vote for Mr. Trump,” Shaw Sr. said.
Trump also spoke to FreedomFest attendees about the July 1 killing in San Francisco of Kathryn “Kate” Steinle, 32, a medical device saleswoman who allegedly was gunned down by an illegal alien from Mexico while she walked along scenic Pier 14 with her father. The Mexican man accused of the crime is Juan Francisco Lopez Sanchez, who prosecutors said was in the United States illegally after seven felony convictions related to drugs and five deportations and repeated illegal entries into America.
In addition, San Francisco authorities refused to honor a request by federal immigration officials to hold the repeat offender until he could be taken him into custody. Trump expressed outrage that the San Francisco Sheriff's Office released the assailant in April due to the city’s policy not to hold immigrants who have no violent criminal background.
“Jamiel’s son would have been alive today and Kate would been alive today, if these people had never been in this country,” said Trump, who added that he is reaching out to the families of those killed by illegal aliens to represent their interests. In fact, Trump said he recently attended a memorial service for parents, such as Shaw Sr., who have lost their children to illegal immigrants.
Trump said the murder of law-abiding Americans by those who enter the United States illegally provides further evidence that current immigration policies are failing America and its citizens. He also questioned why America should keep such illegal alien criminals in its jails rather than deport them to their native countries to face imprisonment there.
In response to one critical question from an audience member regarding the candidate’s views on immigration, Trump said that the government of Mexico is sending their problems to the United States.
Trump said the theme of his presidential campaign is to make America great again.
“You can’t be great if you don’t have a border,” Trump said.
Even though Trump has received heavy criticism for his remarks about illegal immigrants, he predicted he will “win the Hispanic vote.”
“I love people to come into the country legally,” Trump said.
In fact, Trump emphasized that he loves Mexico, the Mexican people and their spirit.
“Their leaders are smarter and their negotiators are much tougher,” Trump said.
In regard to Univision canceling its telecast of the Miss USA pageant that is partially owned by Trump about his immigration views, he said he suspects the leaders in Mexico’s government “put the clamps on Univision, which lost money and is highly over-levered.” Trump co-owns the Miss Universe Organization with Comcast’s NBCUniversal division.
Not one to shy away from controversy, Trump drew flak from Democrats and Republicans alike on Saturday, July 18, for questioning the heroism of Sen. John McCain, a prisoner of war for more than five years who was tortured by the enemy during the Vietnam War. Trump claimed the lawmaker and former naval aviator should not be regarded as a hero just because was captured after his plane was shot down.
In the wake of the backlash, Trump tweeted a conciliatory message.
“Captured or not, all our soldiers are heroes!” Trump said.
But he returned to the offensive in his next tweets.
“The Veterans of our country have been treated like third class citizens for many years... John McCain has failed miserably to fix the situation and to make it possible for veterans to successfully manage their lives,” Trump tweeted.