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Trump To Business Owners: Southern Border Lawlessness Hurts U.S. Economy

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In a speech Tuesday, Trump said immigration is necessary to sustain economic growth, but lawlessness along the southern border will not stand.

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Speaking to a coalition of small business owners Tuesday afternoon, President Trump said immigration is necessary to keep the American economy growing, but that lawlessness along the U.S. southern border will continue to hurt business owners and workers.

While addressing the National Federation of Independent Businesses at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Washington DC, Trump touted job numbers and low unemployment among African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and women. When Trump spoke about the passage of the tax reform plan and repeal of the estate tax, the crowd erupted into applause. When he mentioned the Republican-controlled Congress’s failure to repeal Obamacare, the crowd booed.

Trump said Democrats were hyping the situation along the southern border to detract from the inspector general report released last week. It criticized the Department of Justice and FBI’s handling of the federal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her tenure as secretary of state. He also accused Democrats of holding the immigration reform issue hostage to gin up outrage.

“I don’t want to take children away from their parents,” Trump said, and added that drug smugglers often exploit children or use them as props to enter the United States undetected when crossing the border. “They didn’t go to the Wharton School of Economics, but they’re very smart.”

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He also cited several figures from a report on immigration released by the White House Press Office Tuesday morning, including a record-breaking surge of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the border over the past year. Amid citing figures for job growth, Trump mentioned the biggest problem businesses face today is finding quality employees — a problem he said smarter immigration policy could alleviate.

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The president lambasted Sen. Ted Cruz’s proposal to hire additional immigration judges to handle the backlog of individuals flooding the border seeking asylum, partly because it takes too long for Congress to confirm judges he appoints. Trump added that he would revisit the immigration bills members of Congress are proposing when he meets with them today.

You can watch his remarks in full below.