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Trump in Michigan labels flow of immigrants at southern border 'country changing'

Craig Mauger and Melissa Nann Burke, The Detroit News on

Published in Political News

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Former President Donald Trump argued in Michigan on Tuesday the spike in crossings at the southern border was "country changing" and defended his use of the word "animals" to describe illegal immigrants who commit violent crimes.

“This is country changing," Trump said. "It's country threatening. And it’s country wrecking. They have wrecked our country."

Trump, a Republican, vowed to close the U.S.-Mexico border and orchestrate the largest deportation effort in the history of the nation if he wins a second term as president.

His campaign event inside a downtown Grand Rapids convention center came seven months before the November election, in which he hopes to unseat Democratic President Joe Biden. An increase in illegal crossings at the southern border has become a focus of the race.

Michigan will be among a handful of states that decide whether Biden or Trump wins. In 2020, Biden defeated Trump in Michigan by 154,000 votes or 3 percentage points, 51% to 48%.

Trump said Tuesday if he doesn't win the presidency in November, it could be the "last election" the country has. It wasn't clear what he was basing that statement on.

 

The former president's remarks on Tuesday in Grand Rapids marked a continued escalation of his emphasis on the topic of illegal immigration, which he said was "an invasion."

Between October and February, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported 1.15 million encounters with migrants trying to cross the southern border, a 189% increase from the same period in late 2020 and early 2021, Trump's final months in office.

At one point, he defended his past description of migrants who commit violent crimes as "animals."

"Democrats say, 'Please, don't call them animals. They're humans.' I say no, they're not humans," Trump said. "They're not humans. They're animals."

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