President Donald Trump congratulated the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Tuesday for protecting the border and touted his administration’s tough policies to combat illegal immigration.
In a speech at the 37th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service, an event enacted to honor those who have lost their lives in law enforcement service, Trump said the strength of officers was helping bring order to areas like New York City affected by the MS-13 gang.
"Recently, MS-13 gang members called for the assassination of New York City police officers so the gang could ‘take back the streets.’ They got it wrong. We are the ones who are taking back the streets," Trump said.
Trump decried soft policies on border security throughout his remarks and criticized the enforcement method known as "catch and release." The phrase has been used to describe the release of suspected illegal immigrants while they wait to appear before an immigration judge, but Trump gave it a different meaning.
"We have a ‘catch and release' program, too," Trump said. "We catch them and release them back in the country they came from."
Trump explained deportation is a necessary part of the federal government’s duty to protect citizens.
"The first duty of government is to protect our citizens, and the men and women of DHS are on the front lines of incredible, heroic fight," Trump said. "That is why we are calling on Congress to secure our borders, support our border agents, stop sanctuary cities, and shut down policies that release violent criminals back into our communities."
Trump said his idea of "catch and release," along with imprisonment, is being employed to deal with MS-13 gang members.
"We're getting them out or we're putting them in prison," he said. "The Trump administration has a policy, and it's very clear. We will protect those who protect us and who do such a great job in protecting us."