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Trump addresses immigration alongside 'angel families'

CNN logo CNN 6/22/2018 By Betsy Klein, CNN
Donald Trump holding a sign posing for the camera © SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

President Donald Trump gave remarks on immigration on Friday, capping off a week framed by a crisis of more than 2,000 immigrant children separated due to Trump administration policies from their parents, a hastily-prepared executive order, mixed messages from the President on Twitter, and more questions than answers about what will happen next.

"We're gathered today to hear directly from the American victims of illegal immigration. You know you hear the other side, you never hear this side. You don't know what is going on," Trump said, speaking in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building highlighting "angel families."

"These are the American citizens permanently separated from their loved ones. The word permanently being the word that you have to think about. Permanently. They are not separated for a day or two days. Permanently separated," Trump said.

The term "angel families" has been championed by activist groups to describe those who have lost a family member to violence perpetrated by undocumented immigrants. There is no data supporting the argument that immigrants are prone to committing crime or terrorism at higher rates than the general population.

Trump has spoken about "angel families" often, referencing the group as he justifies his hardline policies on illegal immigration. He made frequent campaign trail appearances with members of the The Remembrance Project, a group whose mission is to "raise awareness of the suffering families impacted by Illegal Alien Crime," per its Facebook page.

Trump often invited them to appear on stage at rallies or met with their families behind-the-scenes, attending the group's annual luncheon in Houston in September 2016 as he touted key campaign promises to build a wall and deport people who are in the US illegally.

"The media never talks about the American victims of illegal immigration. I know them well. I know so many of them. I campaigned with them. What's happened to their children, what's happened to their husbands, what's happened to their wives," Trump said this Wednesday during a campaign rally in Duluth, Minnesota.

He continued: "They don't bring cameras to interview the angel moms whose children were killed by criminal aliens who should have never been here in the first place. Not even close. They don't want to talk to the angel moms."

CNN's Noah Gray contributed to this report.

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