President Donald Trump ripped Democrats for “demanding amnesty” as a condition for funding the government during his weekly address published Saturday, saying they were putting the country’s national security at risk.
Trump focused his address on the death of Kate Steinle, the woman killed in 2015 on a San Francisco pier by an illegal alien.
Jose Inez Garcia Zarate, a felon who had been deported multiple times, was acquitted by a California jury last month for her murder. The case became a national touchstone over the debate over sanctuary cities and illegal immigrants.
“Kate’s death is a tragedy that was entirely preventable,” Trump said, saying Zarate was free to harm Steinle because of San Francisco being a sanctuary city. “In sanctuary states and cities, innocent Americans are at the mercy of criminal aliens because state and local officials defy federal authorities and obstruct the enforcement of our immigration laws.”
Trump called Zarate’s acquittal for the murder a “final injustice” and blasted sanctuary cities as “no good.”
“Unfortunately, Democrats in Congress not only oppose our efforts to stop illegal immigration and crack down on sanctuary cities—now they are demanding amnesty as a condition for funding the government, holding troop funding hostage, and putting our national security at risk,” Trump said. “We cannot allow it.”
“Every Senator and Congressman will have to make a choice: do they want to protect American citizens or do they want to protect criminal aliens? Reasonable people can disagree on many things, but there can be no disagreement that the first duty of government is to serve, protect, and defend American citizens,” he added.
After Trump signed a two-week stopgap spending bill Friday, Republicans and congressional Democrats led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) are trying to reach a long-term deal to fund the government.
Democrats are demanding a permanent fix for “Dreamers,” the term for the children of illegal immigrants protected from deportation in 2012 under an executive order signed by President Barack Obama in 2012. Trump rescinded the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) order in September, calling on Congress to find a permanent solution.
The White House wants any funding bill to have immigration legislation that ends chain migration, constructs a southern border wall and strengthens immigration enforcement.