Donald Trump Friday claimed the federal government is allowing illegal immigrants to flow into the United States so they can vote in the November presidential election, after a Border Patrol agent union leader told him agents have been advised not to deport people with criminal records.
The claims were made during a roundtable meeting Friday morning with National Border Patrol Council members at Trump Tower in New York City, reports Politico, citing a pool report from the event.
"The problem that we're seeing reflected through us as a voice is that some of these individuals that were apprehended with criminal records, they're not, they're checking their records, they see that they have criminal records, but they're setting them aside because at this point they are saying immigration is so tied up with trying to get the people who are on the waiting list to hurry up and get them their immigration status corrected," Art Del Cueto, national vice-president of the union representing the Border Patrol agents, told Trump.
And when Trump asked him why, Del Cueto responded it was "so they can go ahead and vote before the election."
"Big statement, fellas," Trump told the reporters, accusing them of concealing the news from the public. "You're not going to write it. That's huge. But they're letting people pour into the country so they can go and vote."
Del Cueto went on to accuse the government of wanting to "hurry up and fast track them so they can go ahead and vote in the election."
"You hear a thing like that, and it's a disgrace," Trump said at the meeting. "Well, it will be a lot different if I get elected."
Under federal law, however, it is not legal for illegal immigrants to vote in a presidential election, or other federal election for vice-president, presidential elector, senator, representative, delegate from the District of Columbia, or resident commissioner, unless the election is held partly for some other purpose; aliens are authorized to vote for such other purpose under a State constitution or statute or a local ordinance; and voting for such other purpose is conducted independently of voting for a candidate for such Federal offices, in such a manner that an alien has the opportunity to vote for such other purpose, but not an opportunity to vote for a candidate for any one or more of such Federal offices.
Persons violating the law could face a fine and a year in jail, unless one of his or her parents is a U.S. citizen, the immigrant lived in the United States before the age of 16, or if it is determined that the person "reasonably believed" he or she was already a citizen.
Friday's claim are the latest of Trump's hints about the November election being rigged. On Wednesday in Nevada, Trump urged supporters to vote even from their deathbeds "so the other side" wouldn't steal the election.
"Don't let the other side take this election away from us because this is the last chance we get," said Trump.
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