Full White House statement
Today’s attempted mass murder attack in New York City—the second terror attack in New York in the last two months—once again highlights the urgent need for Congress to enact legislative reforms to protect the American people.
First and foremost, as I have been saying since I first announced my candidacy for President, America must fix its lax immigration system, which allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people to access our country. Today’s terror suspect entered our country through extended-family chain migration, which is incompatible with national security. My Executive action to restrict the entry of certain nationals from eight countries, which the Supreme Court recently allowed to take effect, is just one step forward in securing our immigration system. Congress must end chain migration. Congress must also act on my Administration’s other proposals to enhance domestic security, including increasing the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, enhancing the arrest and detention authorities for immigration officers, and ending fraud and abuse in our immigration system. The terrible harm that this flawed system inflicts on America’s security and economy has long been clear. I am determined to improve our immigration system to put our country and our people first.
Second, those convicted of engaging in acts of terror deserve the strongest penalty allowed by law, including the death penalty in appropriate cases. America should always stand firm against terrorism and extremism, ensuring that our great institutions can address all evil acts of terror.
Talking Points to Respond to Statement
- Yesterday's statement from the White House is strikingly devoid of empathy. There is no concern for those who were injured and no support for the citizen's of America's largest city – a city whose residents reflect every religious tradition, every ethnicity, and every race – all of whom were equally put at risk by this lone attacker.
- In a moment of crisis, national leadership is defined by uniting our people. Exploiting the moment to divide us against one another is wrong and it certainly isn't leadership.
- So-called Chain Migration keeps families together. It benefits thousands of strong families that are working, going to school, and contributing to their communities in innumerable ways. Attacking a program that seeks to strengthen and support families, based on the actions of a single individual, is wrong-headed and self-defeating.
- Trump and Attorney General Sessions look for every opportunity to call for more ICE agents because of their longstanding prejudice against immigrants. Most Americans understand that our country has been built and defined by generations of immigrants from all over the world. Our country is made stronger by this tradition. Proposing more ICE agents and increased detention simply demonstrate that the White House doesn't understand the true sources of America's strength.
- The anti-immigrant proposals from the White House in the face of Monday's failed attack in New York are really just aimed at stoking the anti-immigrant elements of his political base. None of these proposals would make anyone safer, but they would instill fear in immigrant communities.
- The President's call for the death penalty for terror suspects is just chest thumping. Federal law already defines the penalties for terror-related crimes, and our federal and state courts have a very strong record of prosecuting these crimes.
- We should be honest. The White House statement is just their same old anti-immigrant agenda in new wrapping.