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Trump calls for creation of office to support victims of crimes by illegal immigrants

President Trump highlighted family members of Americans killed by illegal immigrants during his speech, seeking to make an emotional appeal to build support for stronger border-control measures.

Trump met in the Oval Office ahead of the prime-time address with Jamiel Shaw Sr., whose son was shot by a gang member in Los Angeles in 2008, and Jessica Davis and Susan Oliver, who were married to California police officers killed in the line of duty in 2014. All three were guests in the presidential box in the House chamber, as Trump aimed to make a pointed message about the costs of illegal immigration a week after the Department of Homeland Security rolled out sweeping new enforcement guidelines.

Trump was joined several times on the campaign trail by family members of victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants, including so-called “angel moms,” whose children had been killed. As president, Trump has pledged to raise their profiles, and the new DHS guidelines issued last week included a provision to create a new office to support such victims and their families.

“I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims,” Trump said in his speech to Congress. “The office is called VOICE –- Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement. We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests.”

Trump’s spotlight on the victims’ families has sparked an outcry among those who charge the president is exaggerating the risks to sow public fear to make his proposals more politically expedient. Studies have shown that immigrants, including the estimated 11 million living here illegally, have lower crime rates than the native-born population.

On the campaign trail, Trump said he would seek to quickly deport between 2 million and 3 million immigrants with criminal records. But a study by the Migration Policy Institute found that 820,000 unauthorized immigrants had committed other crimes, including about 300,000 with felony records.

“I want you to know –- we will never stop fighting for justice,” Trump said, addressing his guests. “Your loved ones will never be forgotten, we will always honor their memory.”

Real-time fact-checking and analysis of Trump’s address to Congress
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a joint session of the U.S. Congress as Vice President Mike Pence (L) and House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R) (R-WI) look on on February 28, 2017 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC. Trump's first address to Congress focused on national security, tax and regulatory reform, the economy, and healthcare. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Trump addresses a joint session of Congress on Tuesday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Trump is headed to the Capitol tonight to deliver his first speech as president to a joint session of Congress. The speech is expected to outline budget goals and priorities.

The speech is scheduled to start at 9 p.m.; you can watch coverage starting at 8:45 p.m. here.

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