Jamiel Shaw Sr., the father of a high school student killed by an undocumented immigrant, will introduce Donald Trump on Saturday at a rally in Phoenix, Trump campaign officials tell CNN.
Shaw’s son, a high school football star, was shot and killed in Los Angeles in 2008 by a gang member born in Mexico. On Friday, Trump met in Los Angeles with Shaw and other family members of victims of crimes perpetrated by undocumented immigrants. He then gave a lengthy press conference in which he consistently railed against illegal immigration.
Shaw said Friday that Trump’s recent comments about illegal immigration resonated deeply with him.
“He’s speaking for the dead. He’s speaking for my son,” he said. “He’s speaking for the people who can’t speak for themselves that demand that somebody do something.”
At Friday’s press conference, Trump claimed Mexico was sending its criminals to the United States.
“The fact that they are sending criminals and prisoners into our country and there are people stupid enough to put them in jails or let them roam the street, which is even worse, I have to respect (Mexico) for it,” Trump said.
“I don’t know it you know, (former Cuban leader Fidel) Castro, many years ago, opened up his prisons and sent his prisoners to the United States,” he continued. “In a much more sophisticated manner, Mexico is doing the same thing.”
Trump, who announced his White House campaign bid last month, sparked national outrage by saying that some people crossing the border into the United States from Mexico were “rapists” and “criminals.” A slew of corporations, including Macy’s, NBC and ESPN, responded to his inflammatory remarks by severing business ties with the real estate magnate.
Despite the backlash, Trump has doubled down on his rhetoric.
And the support that he is receiving from Shaw and others demonstrates that the businessman’s message is appealing to some voters who view illegal immigration as a serious problem.
Trump’s Saturday rally in Phoenix is expected to draw thousands of people. His campaign announced on Thursday that the event was being moved to a much larger venue, Phoenix Convention Center, to accommodate the crowd.
A CNN/ORC poll released earlier this month found Trump and Republican rival, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, on the rise nationally. The two are the only GOP presidential contenders to enjoy double-digit support among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.