Trump calls migrants ‘animals’ in a speech in Michigan

Donald Trump called immigrants illegally in the United States "animals" and "not human" in a speech in Michigan on Tuesday, resorting to the degrading rhetoric he has employed time and again on the campaign trail, Reuters reports.

The Republican presidential candidate, appearing with several law enforcement officers, described in detail several criminal cases involving suspects in the country illegally and warned that violence and chaos would consume America if he did not win the Nov. 5 election.

In a later speech in Green Bay, Wisconsin, he struck a similarly foreboding tone, describing the 2024 election as the nation's "final battle."

While speaking of Laken Riley - a 22-year-old nursing student from Georgia allegedly murdered by a Venezuelan immigrant in the country illegally - Trump said some immigrants were sub-human.

"The Democrats say, 'Please don't call them animals. They're humans.' I said, 'No, they're not humans, they're not humans, they're animals,'" said Trump, president from 2017 to 2021.

In Grand Rapids, Michigan, Trump described meeting the family of Ruby Garcia, a local 25-year-old murdered last month by a suspect in the country illegally, according to police. Garcia's sister denied the former president spoke with the family, according to local media reports.

In stump speeches, Trump frequently claims that immigrants crossing the border with Mexico illegally have escaped from prisons and asylums in their home countries and are fueling violent crime in the United States.

While available data on criminals' immigration status is sparse, researchers say people living in the U.S. illegally do not commit violent crimes at a higher rate than native-born citizens.

Democratic President Joe Biden, Trump's rival in the November presidential election, accuses Trump of encouraging Republicans in Congress not to pass legislation this year that would have beefed up security at the southern border and introduced measures aimed at reducing illegal immigration.

"Donald Trump is engaging in extreme rhetoric that promotes division, hate and violence in our country," Michael Tyler, Biden campaign communications director, told reporters on Tuesday ahead of Trump's speeches.

Trump titled his Michigan speech "Biden's border bloodbath," and said he met family members of Garcia, who was allegedly murdered last month in her car by Brandon Ortiz-Vite, 25, whom she was dating.

"They said she had just this most contagious laughter, and when she walked into a room, she lit up that room, and I've heard that from so many people. I spoke to some of her family," Trump said.

Mavi Garcia, Ruby Garcia's sister, disputed that account, according to local television stations. "He did not speak with any of us, so it was kind of shocking seeing that he had said that he had spoke with us," Mavi Garcia was quoted as saying by a local NBC affiliate.