HOUSTON - Donald Trump promised, at The Remembrance Project National Conference luncheon Saturday, to stop illegal immigration and go after people who commit crimes while in the United States illegally.
“Every day the borders remain open innocent Americans are needlessly victimized and killed,” Trump said.
The Republican presidential nominee spoke to families of victims of immigrants who are in the country illegally at a private luncheon at the Omni Houston hotel in west Houston. Laura Wilkerson said her son was murdered six years ago by an immigrant who was in the U.S. without permission.
“We have rights, we should have more rights than the killers,” she said.
Trump has brought national attention to the issue of Americans who have been killed by immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally.
“... Politicians ignore you’re cries for help, but I never will,” Trump said at the luncheon.
Maria Espinoza, co-founder and national director of The Remembrance Project, said:
"Donald Trump has met with and listened to our families' stories of loss and grief, and has pledged to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws in order to stop the preventable killings of Americans and permanently separating them from their loved ones.
"We are grateful for Mr. Trump's support and excited that he is honoring our work and the memories of stolen lives by speaking at this first ever National Conference.
"Someone is finally listening to American and legal immigrant families."
Audience members paid $125 to $500 to get in. The money is being donated to The Remembrance Project, a nonprofit organization that champions victim families.
Trump supporters began lining up inside the hotel hours before the doors to the event were opened.
“This is not a victimless crime. This is not a victimless issue. This is very important," Trump supporter, Bonnie Lugo, said.
About a dozen anti-Trump protesters lined up on the sidewalk outside the hotel.
“We don’t need some man on a white horse. We don’t need a racist and misogynist for president and that’s why we’re out here today,” one protester, Dr. David M. Smith, said.
No media, except Trump’s traveling media group, were allowed inside Saturday's private luncheon.
A reporter for Vice News tried to get in and was arrested for trespassing.
Other media members, including journalists with The Associated Press, Telemundo and NBC, were escorted out of the building.