Trump Warns Over Illegal Immigration as Nevada Supporters Cheer His Policies

Trump Warns Over Illegal Immigration as Nevada Supporters Cheer His Policies

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The GOP frontrunner’s crackdown plans resonated with thousands of people in Reno during his latest campaign speech.

RENO, Nevada—When former President Donald Trump talked about the impact of illegal immigration, and how he plans to tackle the problem, he struck a strong chord with people such as Chris Wines.

Ms. Wines, part of a standing-room-only crowd at President Trump’s Dec. 17 commit-to-caucus event, told The Epoch Times that an illegal immigrant killed her parents’ two best friends plus two other victims.

That’s why the topic of illegal immigration “hits home with me really hard,” she said.

During his 78-minute campaign speech at the Reno Sparks Convention Center, President Trump often drew loud applause and cheers, especially when he contrasted his immigration policies with those of Democrat President Joe Biden.

Now in the thick of his third presidential run and mired in numerous criminal and civil court cases, the GOP frontrunner seemed more serious than usual, supporters said.

They noted that he made very few of his usual witty or sarcastic remarks that make people laugh.

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The former president cited disquieting situations involving illegal immigrants, including two in another Nevada city, Las Vegas.

“Just days ago, we learned that an illegal alien wanted for murder in Mexico secretly violated our border and was discovered in Las Vegas; they believe he’s killed two people,” President Trump said.

Another illegal immigrant was blamed for “a stabbing spree on the Las Vegas Strip, killing two people and badly wounding six more.”

And “tens of thousands of Chinese nationals are pouring in, unchecked, unvetted, going who-knows-where?” he said, noting they are all men in their 20s, “the perfect age for an army; is that what they’re doing?”

These are just hints of the hidden threats that may have infiltrated America via illegal immigration, he said, adding: “Be ready … Because what they’re allowing into our country is very, very bad. Very, very, very bad.”

As part of President Trump’s effort to clinch the First-in-the-West presidential nominee contest in Nevada on Feb. 8, he emphasized his intention to clamp down on illegal immigration, despite facing criticism for some of his recent immigration-related remarks.

“On my first day back in the White House, I will terminate every open-borders policy of the Biden administration,” President Trump told the cheering Reno audience, which police estimated at 6,000 people.

That pledge reiterated a point President Trump was making on Dec. 5, when he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he would act like a “dictator” only on “day one” of his second administration. When Mr. Hannity asked him to explain what he meant, President Trump said he wants to take swift action to close the U.S.–Mexico border.

To his supporters, the dictator-for-a-day remark was clearly a humorous attempt to respond to Mr. Hannity’s question about the left’s fears that he would become a dictator if he is reelected in 2024. Nevertheless, President Trump’s statement stoked furor.

 A crowd of about 6,000 people reacts to the arrival of former President Donald Trump at a "commit-to-caucus" event held at the Reno Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada, on Dec. 17, 2023. (Steve Ispas/The Epoch Times)
A crowd of about 6,000 people reacts to the arrival of former President Donald Trump at a “commit-to-caucus” event held at the Reno Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada, on Dec. 17, 2023. (Steve Ispas/The Epoch Times)

Criticism From the Left


A second remark raised his critics’ hackles even more. On Dec. 16, the day before his Reno speech, President Trump told an audience in Durham, N.H., that illegal immigration was “poisoning the blood of our country.”

In response, the Biden campaign posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that President Trump was “echoing” Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, who advocated purity of German or “Aryan” bloodlines. The Associated Press and other news outlets ran stories making similar comparisons.

But President Trump’s advocates say the “poisoning the blood” phrase wasn’t meant to be taken literally. They also suggest that such characterizations ignore the context in which the “poisoning” remark was made.

During both the Durham speech and the Reno speech, the former president performed a dramatic reading of “The Snake,” a poem about a poisonous snake that bites a woman after she rescued him from freezing weather.

As the woman is aghast that she is about to die from the snake’s venom, the story ends with, “Shut up, silly woman, said the reptile with a grin; you knew I was a snake before you took me in.”

That poem has been part of President Trump’s campaign repertoire since 2016. He presents it as a cautionary tale about harboring illegal immigrants; his audiences often clamor for the story, as they did in Reno.

President Trump told the Reno audience: “It’s a metaphor of what’s going on at your border. And it’s a metaphor as to what will happen in Reno, in Nevada, [and] all over the place.”

After reciting the poem, President Trump said it was an “accurate” metaphor for what can happen with illegal immigrants.

“Common sense would say we should never even have to be talking about a thing like that,” he said. “Who would allow people to pour into our country that are from prisons and from lots of other places that you don’t want to talk about?”

 Supporters cheer as Republican presidential candidate former U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a campaign rally at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada, on Dec. 17, 2023. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Supporters cheer as Republican presidential candidate former U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a campaign rally at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada, on Dec. 17, 2023. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

How About ‘The Wall?’


President Trump said that, under his administration, “we had the most secure border in U.S. history.”

He ended a “catch-and-release” practice that had been used with people who crossed the border illegally. And his administration deported more than a million illegal immigrants.

But then President Biden took office after the hotly contested 2020 election, reversing President Trump’s immigration policies.

As a result, President Trump said, “Drugs, criminals, gang members, and terrorists are pouring into our country at record levels.”

He blamed President Biden for “the highest number of illegal border crossings in the history of our country … [and] a new record being set every single week on drugs and every other lousy thing that’s coming into our country.”

President Trump vowed he would re-secure the border if he is reelected in 2024. He also would begin the largest deportation operation in U.S. history. In addition, he would “invoke the Alien Enemies Act to remove all known or suspected gang members, drug dealers, or cartel members from the United States.”

This action, he said, would end “the scourge of illegal alien gang violence once and for all.”

During his 2016 presidential campaign, he promised to fill gaps in the U.S.–Mexico border wall. Workers completed 561 miles of border wall during his tenure, President Trump said.

But instead of using additional wall-building materials that his administration purchased, President Biden “actually sold those sections of wall for five cents on the dollar,” he said as the crowd booed. “Can you believe it? All they had to do is put it up.”

President Trump has pledged to finish that project.

In recent months, many communities, including some Democrat-led cities, have complained about the effects of opening the illegal immigration spigot. President Biden has been trying to negotiate a new border-security deal in Congress, but Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has said he doesn’t expect anything to be decided soon.

“The White House got engaged five days ago. They sent over a supplemental with border security provisions that did nothing to change policy,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Dec. 17. “It was a choice by the Biden administration to change policy that led to this debacle.”

Asked about the “poisoning-the-blood” phrase President Trump used to refer to illegal immigration, Mr. Graham said: “To the Biden administration, you’re talking about Donald Trump’s language as you sat on the sidelines and allowed the country to be invaded.”

When pressed, Mr. Graham also said he “could[n’t] care less” about the language President Trump used. “He actually delivered on the border,” Mr. Graham said. “People are looking for results. If the only thing you want to talk about on immigration is the way Donald Trump talks, you’re missing a lot.”

 Republican presidential candidate former U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a campaign rally at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada, on Dec. 17, 2023. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate former U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks during a campaign rally at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center in Reno, Nevada, on Dec. 17, 2023. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Silver State Spotlight


Bruce Parks, chairman of the Republican Party in Washoe County, which includes Reno, commended the former president for coming to Reno and addressing “the issues that are important to the people,” including border security, the economy and “how America is viewed on the world stage.”

“It would really be hard for me to say that there’s that one issue that hit home with the people,” Mr. Parks told The Epoch Times. “I would not be doing justice to what he said if I did that.”

When asked what resonated most about President Trump’s speech, Mr. Parks replied: “I’ve heard a lot of political speeches, especially lately. And, I swear to you, it seems to me like the person speaking should have a set of pompons in his hands, because basically all he’s doing is, well, cheerleading.”

“I don’t get that from Mr. Trump; I hear his sincere concerns, recognition of the issues that people face on a daily basis, and then a plan, what he’s going to do to correct the course of the ship,” Mr. Parks said. “It’s not just ‘rah-rah, sis-boom-bah, go get ’em, team!'”

Mr. Parks said people in his county appreciated President Trump for taking the time to speak in their state. Pointing out that GOP rules prohibit him from endorsing a presidential candidate prior to the Republican National Convention this summer, Mr. Parks said he would like to encourage other candidates to have a bigger presence in Nevada.

This year, because of a change in state law, the state is using both a state-run Republican primary and a party-run Republican caucus. But the caucus, set for Feb. 8, is the only outcome that counts.

Although President Trump has a wide lead over his Republican rivals in polling, he urged supporters they cannot become complacent and just expect a win based on the polling; they need to remain motivated and go vote, he said.

President Trump made similar admonitions to crowds in other early-presidential contest states, including Iowa, with first-in-the-nation caucuses set for Jan. 15, and New Hampshire’s primary on Jan. 23; next in line is Nevada’s contest.

The Silver State used to be “a flyover state,” because its presidential-selection caucus was held later in the election cycle. But in 2008, Nevada’s importance escalated; it became the “First-in-the-West” caucus state.

Still, it only has six of the required 270 Electoral College votes up for grabs and only 26 delegates to the GOP convention, about 1 percent of the estimated total needed for a candidate to earn the party’s presidential nomination.

“You can ignore us, but you do so at your own risk,” Mr. Parks said. “I would not want to be that candidate that sitting around the middle of July, lamenting the fact that they ignored Nevada and they only lost by three delegates.”

In modern elections, many races are decided by slim margins. Therefore, Mr. Parks said: “Every vote counts. Every delegate counts. Every electoral vote counts.”

President Trump’s next scheduled campaign stop is Dec. 19 in Waterloo, Iowa, a state he has promised to “blitz” during the next few weeks.

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