Trump hosts victims of undocumented migrants amid family separations row

US President Donald Trump has hosted the relatives of victims killed by illegal immigrants amid outrage over the separation of migrant families.

“Your loved ones have not died in vain,” he told the group of so-called Angel Families at the White House.

Mr Trump has faced global condemnation for the US immigration policy that has seen more than 2,000 migrant children stripped from their families.

He bowed to public pressure and reversed the policy earlier this week.

The president signed an executive order on Wednesday to stop undocumented immigrant children being detained separately from their parents after they have illegally entered the country.

But the administration’s “zero-tolerance” policy of criminally prosecuting anyone who crosses the border illegally remains in place.

What did the president say?

“These are the American citizens permanently separated from their loved ones,” Mr Trump said on Friday, before introducing family members of victims.

“I cannot imagine it being any worse, but we promise to act with strength and resolve.

“We’ll not rest until our border is secure, our citizens are safe and we end this immigration crisis once and for all,” the president added.

Laura Wilkerson, whose son was killed in 2010 by an undocumented immigrant, told audience members: “None of our kids had a minute to say goodbye. We weren’t lucky enough to be separated for five days or 10 days.

“We were separated permanently.”

Are immigrants more likely to commit crimes?

In 2017, Gallup polls showed that almost half of Americans believe that immigrants raise crime rates. Yet many studies have found that the reverse is actually true.

Native-born Americans are more likely to commit a crime than immigrants, and more likely to be incarcerated.

One study spanning four decades compared immigration rates with crime rates. The researchers found that immigration appeared to be linked to decreases in violent crimes like murder, or property crime such as burglaries.

“The results show that immigration does not increase assaults and – in fact, robberies, burglaries, larceny, and murder are lower in places where immigration levels are higher,” said the paper’s lead author, Robert Adelman.

A 2017 study by the Cato Institute found that the incarceration rate for native-born Americans was 1.53%, compared to 0.85% for undocumented immigrants and 0.47% for legal immigrants.

What started the row over migrant families?

Approximately 2,300 migrant children have been removed from their families since Mr Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy began in May, and housed in detention centres run by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Some shelters, including three in Texas, house so-called “tender age” children, who are under five years old.

[BBC]

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