'Angel Families' Share Their Pain and Loss During President's Remarks

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‘Angel Families’ Share Their Pain and Loss During White House Event with Trump

'None of our kids had a minute to say goodbye. We weren't lucky enough to be separated for five days ... we're separated permanently'

President Donald Trump on Friday delivered remarks on illegal immigration with “angel families” in attendance at the White House — men and women who lost family members to crimes committed by people in this country illegally.

The president said he invited the families to the White House “because the news media has overlooked their stories.”

Trump cited statistics for crimes committed by illegal immigrants — including the 600,000 crimes committed by more than 250,000 illegal immigrants over the past seven years in Texas alone. He also said that 15,000 Americans died of heroin overdoses in 2016, with 90 percent of heroin coming across the U.S. southern border.

“We’re following these people. We’re following them, so that it can’t happen again,” said the president about criminal illegal aliens. “Our first duty and our highest loyalty is to the citizens of the United States … We don’t want people in our country who don’t go through a process.”

The president focused especially on families that have tragically suffered loss at the hands of illegals. “These are the families the media ignore … For years their pain was met with silence, their plight was met with indifference,” he said. “But no more — I told them three years ago, when we were together [during the campaign] … I hear you, I see you, and I will never let you down.”

Laura Wilkerson of Pearland, Texas, talked about the beloved son she lost to an illegal alien back in 2010: “We want to tell you a little bit today about Josh. He was brutally tortured, strangled over and over. He was set on fire after death. His last hours were brutal,” she said.

“None of our kids [gone because of crimes committed by illegal immigrants] had a minute to say goodbye. We weren’t lucky enough to be separated for five days or 10 days, we’re separated permanently,” said Wilkerson. “Any time we want to see or be close to our kids we go to the cemetery, because that’s where they are.”

She continued in pain, “We can never speak to them, we can’t Skype with them, and I want to thank you so much in this room for what you’re doing … There are so many more of us [families in pain] than what you see here, that have the same story.”

Juan Piña then stepped up to speak. “My daughter was Christy Sue Piña — back in 1990 she was kidnapped, strangled, stabbed, raped and sodomized, and her body was found in an artichoke field,” he said. He added that on May 3, “God answered my prayers, and Mexico finally turned him [the killer] loose to us. He is now in the Monterey County jail, and we can start court procedures for my daughter’s death.”

One of the parents, Steve Ronnebeck, talked about his 21-year-old son, Grant, killed when an illegal immigrant shot him at a convenience store. “You don’t hear these stories, and some of our media won’t talk to you about it,” Ronnebeck said. “But this is permanent separation.”

He said he places a Christmas tree on his son’s grave each year.

Related: Here’s the Key to Making Trump’s Immigration Executive Order Work

Several family members urged the audience and the president to support Fight Sanctuary State, their grass-roots organization, to encourage state and local authorities to cooperate with federal immigration officials instead of shielding illegal immigrants.

Below are some of the other “angel family” members invited to the White House, as noted by The Washington Times:

  • Agnes Gibboney, who lost her son, Ronald da Silva, after he was shot and killed by a gang member
  • Michelle Wilson-Root, whose 21-year old daughter, Sarah, was killed in 2016 in a car accident allegedly caused by illegal alien Edwin Mejia
  • Sabine Durden, who lost her son Dominic, a sheriff’s dispatcher, following a fatal car accident in Moreno Valley, California
  • Mary Ann Mendoza, who lost her son, Mesa Police Sgt. Brandon Mendoza, in 2014 following a car accident with an illegal alien allegedly driving drunk
  • Billy and Kathy Inman, who lost their 16-year-old son, Dustin, after a car accident in 2000, allegedly caused by an illegal immigrant. Mrs. Inman, also in the vehicle, was left permanently disabled because of her injuries.

Deirdre Reilly is a senior editor with LifeZette. Follow her on Twitter.