Acting U.S. Attorney General pushes immigration agenda in Austin visit

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — In front of an audience of local, state, and federal law enforcement, Acting United States Attorney General Matthew Whitaker affirmed his commitment to advance the mission of his predecessor, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and President Donald Trump.

Whitaker said 50,000 illegal immigrants have been arrested at the border in the past two months.

“That’s the size of a small city every single month,” Whitaker said, noting that more than 23,000 of those people were in family units.

“This lawbreaking comes at a high cost,” Whitaker said. “This country spends billions of dollars every year on illegal aliens- on medical care, our prisons, and on public education.”

When asked about why he or the Department of Justice selected Austin to make this speech, Whitaker did not respond, however, he did note in his address that Austin is one of the top 20 cities in the nation “in terms of illegal alien population.”

“Pew Research estimates that there are about 100,000 illegal aliens in the Austin-Round Rock area,” Whitaker said, explaining that there are an estimated 1.6 million illegal immigrants in Texas, and about 11 million people in the country illegally.

“The tens of billions that we spend on illegal aliens could be spent on Americans, on education for our children, health care for our elderly or our sick, or on roads and bridges,” Whitaker said. “More important than the financial cost we pay is the cost we pay in American lives.  Massive illegal immigration makes all of us less safe.”

Whitaker emphasized a need for strong border security and said more resources provided at the state and federal level resulted in the prosecution of more illegal immigrants than ever before.

“Americans die every year because we do not have a secure Southern border. This is completely unacceptable,” Whitaker stated. “The first and most important obligation of government is to keep its citizens safe. The failure to secure our border over the last 30 years therefore represents an enormous failure of government to fulfill its most sacred duty.”

The Acting A.G. heads to Dallas on Wednesday to deliver remarks on Project Safe Neighborhood, focusing on violent crime in Texas communities. He is also scheduled to meet with North Texas police officers.

The Department of Justice published Whitaker’s prepared remarks on its website.

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