Trump speaks to group dedicated to people killed by undocumented migrants at an event closed to press, as Vice says one of its reporters arrested
After reversing course a day earlier on false claims about Barack Obamas birth, Donald Trump produced a familiar stance on another favourite theme on Saturday, telling an audience in Texas he would save American lives by securing the border.
Our nation should not accept one lost American life because our country failed to enforce its laws, the Republican presidential candidate said. This has to end. It will end if I become president, I promise you.
The event at which Trump spoke, in Houston, was closed to press. Vice News reported that one of its journalists was arrested for alleged trespassing at the hotel while inquiring about press access.
Earlier, Trumps standing on national security and foreign policy was attacked by the former defense secretary Robert Gates, in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
At the lunchtime event, though, the Republican nominee concentrated on domestic policy, denouncing so-called sanctuary cities places that do not cooperate with all federal immigration enforcement and describing Hillary Clintons plan for comprehensive immigration reform, including a pathway to citizenship, as an amnesty that would mean a virtual end to immigration enforcement in the United States of America.
Trump claimed his Democratic rival was effectively proposing to abolish the borders around the country that she is supposed to be representing.
He was speaking at a luncheon in a Houston hotel held for the Remembrance Project, which bills itself as a voice for victims killed by illegal aliens. The group was founded by Maria Espinoza, the daughter of a Mexican immigrant father, in 2009. Its flagship initiative is The Stolen Lives Quilt, which depicts Americans killed by undocumented immigrants.
A subdued Trump spoke for about 15 minutes, then invited family members of victims, who wore T-shirts bearing names and images of their killed relatives, to tell their stories on stage.
The organisation has enjoyed a boost in attention and momentum during this election thanks to Trumps inflammatory comments about migrants and his contention that unauthorised immigration presents not only an economic but also a safety threat to America.
In his speech at the Republican national convention last July, the candidate named several people allegedly killed by undocumented immigrants, including Kate Steinle, whose shooting death on a San Francisco pier last year became a cause clbre for conservatives given that citys status as a sanctuary city.
Ive met many incredible people during this campaign but nothing has moved me more deeply than the time I have spent with the families of the Remembrance Project, Trump said on Saturday.
After initially inviting applications from members of the media to attend, the Project said on Friday that it was now a private event. It was livestreamed on YouTube.
Asked about a Vice report of one of its staff being arrested, a Houston police department spokesman confirmed that an adult male was arrested for trespassing at the event. According to police, hotel management asked them to arrest the 27-year-old for trespassing when he entered the hotel for a second time and refused to leave, shortly after complying with a prior request to exit.
According to the Vice report, Alex Thompson entered the lobby of the Omni to ask members of Trumps communications staff whether a final decision on access had been made.
Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said the campaign was not involved in this incident or aware of the details surrounding it.
The event organizers were responsible for todays media presence and requested the campaign limit attendance to the traveling pool. The campaign had no staff presence at check-in for guests or media and therefore has no further knowledge of what occurred.
A man who answered the phone at the hotel said no one was available this weekend to discuss the arrest. In March, police arrested a CBS News journalist who was covering a Trump rally in Chicago when scuffles broke out amid protests. He was accused of resisting arrest but all charges were dropped.