We will never paint this any other way. The words uttered Tuesday by President Donald Trump continue to dehumanize Central American migrants. These are the words of the world’s most powerful leader. They are lies. They are based in fear. They play into the false assumption that every migrant from the Global South is a gang member. It is where we are at right now, three years after Trump called Mexicans rapists. And NOW you’re surprised.
Watch this portion of his speech and read the official transcript. People at the National Federation of Independent Businesses celebration are cheering this speech.
Before going any further today, I want to take a moment to address something you’ve been reading a lot about: the illegal immigration crisis on our southern border. It’s been going on for many, many decades and many years. And it has its ups and its downs. And all we need is good legislation, and we can have it taken care of. And we have to get the Democrats to go ahead and work with us. Because as a result of Democrat-supported loopholes in our federal laws, most illegal immigrant families and minors from Central America who arrive unlawfully at the border cannot be detained together or removed together, only released.
These are crippling loopholes that cause family separation, which we don’t want. As a result of these loopholes, roughly half a million illegal immigrant family units and minors from Central America have been released into the United States since 2014 at unbelievably great taxpayer expense. Nobody knows how much we’re paying for this monstrosity that’s been created over the years — legislation that nobody has any idea what they’re doing. They don’t even know what it means. And you have to see this; it’s a mile high.
Child smugglers exploit the loopholes, and they gain illegal entry into the United States, putting countless children in danger on the perilous trek to the United States. They come up through Mexico. Mexico does nothing for us. You hear it here: They do nothing for us. They could stop it. They have very, very strong laws. Try staying in Mexico for a couple of days. See how long that lasts. Okay? (Laughter and applause.)
They do nothing for us, and I see it through NAFTA. I see with $100 billion-plus that they make on trade through NAFTA — one of the worst deals ever made by this country. A disaster. And we’re trying to equalize it. And it’s not easy, but we’re getting there. It’s not easy. (Applause.)
And we’re going to take care of our American farmers, and we’re going to take care of our manufacturers, and our manufacturing jobs. But they’re making unbelievable amounts of money, and that’s not including the drugs that are flowing through our border, because we have no wall and we have no protection. The drugs that are coming in from Mexico and through the southern border is disgraceful.
So we’ll see whether or not we can make a reasonable NAFTA deal or deal — doesn’t have to be called NAFTA. We can do one-on-one with Mexico; one-on-one with Canada.
And, by the way, Canada — they like to talk. (Laughter.) They’re our great neighbor. They fought World War II with us. We appreciate it. They fought World War I with us. And we appreciate it, but we’re protecting each other.
There was a story two days ago, in a major newspaper, talking about people living in Canada, coming into the United States, and smuggling things back into Canada because the tariffs are so massive. The tariffs to get common items back into Canada are so high that they have to smuggle them in. They buy shoes, then they wear them. They scuff them up. They make them sound old or look old.
No, we’re treated horribly. Dairy. Dairy. Two-hundred and seventy-five percent tariff. So basically that’s a barrier without saying it’s a barrier.
And I told them, if they don’t change their ways — and we have a tremendous deficit. People say, “Well, there’s really not that much of a deficit.” Well, they’re not including two things: energy and timber. And those are the two big things when it comes to Canada.
No, we have to change our ways. We can no longer be the stupid country. We want to be the smart country. (Applause.)
So hopefully, we’ll be able to work it out with Canada. We have very good relationships with Canada. We have for a long time. And hopefully, that will work out. But Canada is not going to take advantage of the United States any longer, and Mexico is not going to take advantage of the United States any longer.
And when I campaigned, I said I will either renegotiate NAFTA or I’ll terminate it and we’ll start from an even base. And people are afraid of that. You know, I’ve had so many people — they come up, they say, “Oh, please don’t terminate NAFTA.” I said, “But it’s no good.” “Yeah, but we know what we have.” It’s true. (Laughter.) People are worried because they know what they have.
If you look at — I love the American farmer more than anybody. They have backed me. I love the American farmer. (Applause.)
And by the way — I’ll tell you in a little while because it’s in one of my notes — the American farmer virtually will not have to pay any more estate tax on their farms when they pass away and they want to leave it to their children. (Applause.) And that goes for almost all small businesses. You won’t have the estate tax to pay anymore, which was crippling. That was in our bill. (Applause.)
See? A young guy is standing. Now, he’s too young to be leaving it, so that means he’s a beneficiary. I don’t know. (Laughter.) Don’t act to happy. There’s a wealthy father there. Don’t act too happy. (Laughter.) Is that your father?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)
THE PRESIDENT: Oh, wow. The answer is yes. Okay. And you know what? You’re both happy. Okay? You’re both happy.
And I’m honored to have done it, because it was destroying — the estate tax — small businesses and farms. Destroying them. People were mortgaging them to the hilt to pay the tax, and then they couldn’t pay the interest on the mortgage, and the banks would take them away.
You don’t have to pay the estate tax any longer. (Applause.) In most cases. In other words, loopholes — if your farm is really big, you start to pay. It’s a pretty big level, you know that. Pretty big. That would have to be a pretty big farm.
These loopholes have created a massive child smuggling trade. Can you believe this? In this day and age, we’re talking about child smuggling. We’re talking about women smuggling in this day and age. The worst it’s been in history — because the Internet has led to this. You think back 200, 500, 1,000 years ago — the worst it’s ever been. Women smuggling, child smuggling.
Since last year, child smugglers — who are very, very sophisticated — they’ve learned the loopholes in this horrible, rotten system that the Democrats have to help us fix because we need the votes. We could have the Republican votes, 100 percent. We still don’t have enough votes. People don’t understand that. We need Democrat votes to get it fixed.
These smugglers know these rules and regulations better than the people that drew them. As a result, there’s been a 325 percent increase in minors, and a 435 percent increase in the smuggling or attempted smuggling of families and minors into our country. We’re stopping them all the time by the thousands. But they still get through. We have no wall. We have no border security. Without a border, you don’t have a country. You don’t have a country. (Applause.)
Under current law, we have only two policy options to respond to this massive crisis: We can either release all illegal immigrant families and minors who show up at the border from Central America, or we can arrest the adults for the federal crime of illegal entry. Those are the only two options. Totally open borders or criminal prosecution for law breaking. And you want to be able to do that. We don’t want people pouring into our country. We want them to come in through the process, through the legal system. And we want, ultimately, a merit-based system where people come in based on merit. (Applause.)
Keep in mind, those who apply for asylum, legally, at ports of entry, are not prosecuted. The fake news media back there doesn’t talk about that. (Laughter and applause.) They’re fake. They are helping — they are helping these smugglers and these traffickers like nobody would believe. They know it. They know exactly what they’re doing and it should be stopped — because what’s going on is very unfair to the people of our country. And they violate the law. People that come in violate the law. They endanger their children in the process. And frankly, they endanger all of our children.
You see what happens with MS-13, where your sons and daughters are attacked violently. Kids that never even heard of such a thing are being attacked violently, not with guns, but with knives because it’s much more painful. Inconceivable — here we are talking about business — inconceivable that we even have to talk about MS-13 and other gangs. They attack violently, the most painful way possible. And a bullet is too quick. And we’re allowing these people into our country? Not with me. We’re taking them out by the thousands. (Applause.) We’re taking them out by the thousands.
So what I’m asking Congress to do is to give us a third option, which we have been requesting since last year — the legal authority to detain and promptly remove families together as a unit. We have to be able to do this. This is the only solution to the border crisis. We have to stop child smuggling. This is the way to do it.
And ultimately, we have to have a real border — not judges. Thousands and thousands of judges they want to hire. Who are these people? When we vet a single federal judge, it goes through a big process. Everybody that’s ever met her or him — they come, they complain, they don’t complain. They say he’s brilliant; she’s brilliant; he’s not smart enough to be a judge. Now we’re hiring thousands and thousands. What country does this? Judges. (Laughter.) I won’t say it. I refuse to say it. I hope they picked that up back there. (Laughter.) They won’t.
No, what — seriously, what country does it? They said, “Sir, we’d like to hire about five or six-thousand more judges.” Five or six-thousand? Now, can you imagine the graft that must take place? You’re all small business owners, so I know you can imagine a thing like that would happen. But here’s a guy — they say, “Could you please be a judge? Come on, get it.” They line up to be a judge. It’s horrible.
We don’t want judges; we want security on the border. We don’t want people coming in. We want them to come in through a legal process like everybody else that’s waiting to come into our country. (Applause.)
And it got so crazy that all of these thousands — we now have thousands of judges — border judges — thousands and thousands. And, by the way, when we release the people they never come back to the judge anyway. They’re gone. They’re in your system. That’s it. If they’re good, that’s great. And if they’re bad, you’ll have killings, you’ll have murders, you’ll have this, you’ll have that, and you’ll have crime. You’ll have crime.
And remember, these countries that we give tremendous foreign aid to in many cases, they send these people up and they’re not sending their finest. Does that sound familiar? (Laughter.) Remember I made that speech and I was badly criticized? “Oh it’s so terrible, what he said.” Turned out I was 100 percent right. That’s why I got elected. (Laughter and applause.)
We want a great country. We want a country with heart. But when people come up, they have to know they can’t get in, otherwise it’s never going to stop. Whether it was President Bush, President Obama, President Clinton — same policies. They can’t get them changed because both sides are always fighting.
This is maybe a great chance to have a change. But one of them says we want to hire 5,000 more judges. I don’t want judges. I want border security. I don’t want to try people. I don’t want people coming in. Do you know, if a person comes in and puts one foot on our ground, it’s essentially “welcome to America, welcome to our country.” You never get them out, because they take their name, they bring the name down, they file it, then they let the person go; they say show back up to court in one year from now. One year. But here’s the thing: That in itself is ridiculous. Like 3 percent come back.
The other thing they have is they have professional lawyers. Some are for good, others are do-gooders, and others are bad people. And they tell these people exactly what to say. They say, “Say the following:” — they write it down — “I am being harmed in my country. My country is extremely dangerous. I fear for my life.” “Say that. Congratulations. You’ll never be removed.” This is given to them by lawyers who are waiting for them to come up. And they’re not all bad people. They’re impractical people.
But, in a way, that’s cheating because they’re giving them statements. They’re not coming up for that reason. They’re coming up for many other reasons and sometimes for that reason.
There’s been a 1,700 percent increase in asylum claims over the last 10 years. Think of that. Think of that. We’re a great country but you can’t do that. Smugglers know how the system works. They game the system; they game it. It’s so easy for them. They’re smart. They didn’t go to the Wharton School of Finance. (Laughter.) But you know what? They’re really smart.
The United States has just surpassed Germany as having the most asylum seekers of any nation on Earth. Can you image that? Can you image? And Germany — we talk about Germany — they allowed millions of people in. And, by the way, their crime, from the time they started, is up more than 10 percent. And that’s one of the reasons it’s at that level is because they don’t like reporting that kind of crime, so they put it down as different kind of crime. But their crime is up more than 10 percent since they started taking them in.
I heard somebody said that Crooked Hillary Clinton was questioning that statistic. She said, “It’s not true. It’s not true.” Didn’t she already have her chance? I mean, I’ve — (laughter and applause). I’ll tell you what, when you read the IG report with these really dishonest people — and I was never a deep-state guy, but let me tell you, we got some bad people that are doing bad things. But when you read that IG report about how she got away with what she got away with, it’s a disgrace. It’s a total disgrace. (Applause.)
And you ought to see the hearings that are right now on television but that folks are being — you know, they’re going on to the mainstream, fake news media. They want to focus on immigration because they want to keep the cameras away from the hearings because those hearings are not good for them. In fact, they’re a disaster for them. The whole thing is a scam. It’s a scam. And what’s happened is a disgrace.
So we have a House that’s getting ready to finalize an immigration package that they’re going to brief me on later, and that I’m going to make changes to. We have one chance to get it right. We might as well get it right, or let’s just keep it going. But let’s do it right. We have a chance. We want to solve this problem. We want to solve family separation. I don’t want children taken away from parents. And when you prosecute the parents for coming in illegally, which should happen, you have to take the children away. Now, we don’t have to prosecute them. But then we’re not prosecuting them for coming in illegally. That’s not good.
We want to end the border crisis by finally giving us the legal authorities and the resources to detain and remove illegal immigrant families all together and bring them back to their country. We have to bring them back to their country.
Now, think of all that aid that we give some of these countries. Hundreds of millions of dollars we give to some of these countries, and they send them up. Well, I’m going to go, very shortly, for authorization that when countries abuse us by sending their people up — not their best — we’re not going to give any more aid to those countries. Why the hell should we? Why should we? (Applause.)
So this is a responsible, commonsense approach that all lawmakers should embrace — Democrats and Republicans. And remember, we need the Democrats. People say, “Oh, you have the majority.” Well, in the Senate, we have 1, but you need 60. So we’ll be at — if we get 100 percent, we’ll be at 51. A hundred percent, we’ll be at 51. So we need nine votes. We need 10, 12, 13 votes. We have to have Democrat support because we need to go not just a majority, unfortunately, which we could get. We need to go to 60 — 60 out of 100. We need Democrat support.
They don’t want to give it, because Democrats love open borders. Let the whole world come in. Let the whole world. MS-13 gang members from all over the place, come on in — we have open borders. And they view that possibly intelligently, except that it’s destroying our country. They view that as potential voters. Someday they’re going to vote for Democrats. Because they can’t win on their policies, which are horrible. They found that out in the last presidential election. (Laughter and applause.) In fact, their only policy was that Donald Trump is a bad guy, he’s a bad person. Vote against Trump. And they said it so many — hundreds of millions of dollars of negative ads. Nobody has ever been hit like that. I used to go home — I started disliking myself. It’s true. (Laughter.) I said, “Man, am I that bad?” (Laughter.)
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