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Trump, Republicans talk border in Grand Rapids

Colin Jackson

Criticisms of the Biden administration’s immigration policies made up a major part of former President Donald Trump’s speech in Grand Rapids Tuesday.

His visit comes in the wake of the murder of 25-year-old Ruby Garcia, allegedly by a former romantic partner.

The suspect is in the country without permission from immigration officials, something the former president hammered down on.

“He was set loose to roam our streets. And, in this case, set loose to roam in Michigan,” Trump said.

Trump is among several Republicans who are seizing on the death as an example of what they describe as President Joe Biden’s border strategies.

Democrats, however, are countering that narrative by blaming Trump for tanking what had been bipartisan border security legislation in Congress. Trump told Republicans not to support the deal.

“I don’t have a lot of tolerance for people who want to score political points when it continues to endanger our economy and, to some extend, you know, our people as we saw play out in Grand Rapids recently,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said.

Local authorities have suggested the murder was an example of domestic violence.

Congresswoman Hillary Scholten (MI-3) represents the area. She said Garcia’s alleged killer shouldn’t have been in the country.

But Scholten said the domestic violence aspect shouldn’t be lost in this conversation.

“No Republican is talking about the fact that this is a horrific act of domestic violence committed by someone with a gun who never should have had one,” Scholten said.

During his 45-minute speech, which included words from a few county sheriffs, Trump repeated several of his common criticisms of migrants coming across the southern border.

He pointed to incidents of crimes allegedly committed by people in the country without authorization from immigration officials to make the case that the country is less safe under Biden.

Comparatively, he previewed some of his goals for immigration policy should he retake office.

“We will end deadly sanctuary cities immediately. I will shift massive portions of federal law enforcement to immigration enforcement,” Trump said.

President Biden’s re-election campaign is questioning Trump’s record on crime, sharing statistics from the Brennan Center for Justice. It said violent crime is down nationally under Biden’s leadership.

Yet, law enforcement that spoke alongside Trump said they felt more supported by him while he was in office.

A speech from Michigan Police Officers Association of Michigan president James Tignanelli ended with the organization awarding Trump its endorsement for president.

Trump stood alongside several elected officials and candidates for office, including U.S. Representatives John James, Jack Bergman and former Representative Mike Rogers, who's running for the U.S. Senate.

Colin Jackson is a reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network.