Who were the victims of illegal immigrants Trump named at the RNC?
Accepting the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump reinforced his desire to crack down on illegal immigration with emotional anecdotes of people he said had been killed by undocumented immigrants.
Three parents — Mary Ann Mendoza, Sabine Durden, and Jamiel Shaw — spoke about their children on the first night of the Republican National Convention Monday and called for stronger immigration enforcement. They also called for an end to so-called “sanctuary cities,” which Trump said Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton supports.
“They’re just three brave representatives of many thousands who have suffered so gravely,” Trump said. “Of all my travels in this country, nothing has affected me more, nothing even close I have to tell you, than the time I have spent with the mothers and fathers who have lost their children to violence spilling across our borders, which we can solve. We have to solve it.”
Not everyone has heard of the people Trump referred to, so we took a look at these incidents, based on news reports, officials statements and other sources. Trump mentioned five victims, two who were gunshot victims and three who died in auto accidents involving alleged drunken driving.
The first mention Trump gave was to Sarah Root, who was killed in January — one day after graduating college — when her vehicle was hit by a drunk driver.
“One such border-crosser was released and made his way to Nebraska,” Trump said. “There, he ended the life of an innocent young girl named Sarah Root. She was 21 years-old, and was killed the day after graduating from college with a 4.0 grade point average. Her killer was then released a second time, and he is now a fugitive from the law.”
The drunk driver accused of killing Root was 19-year old Eswin Mejia from Honduras, who had a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit. At the time, Douglas County, Nebraska police officers said Mejia was not a U.S. citizen.
During a Feb. 4 hearing, Judge Jeffrey Marcuzzo set a $50,000 bond. Mejia paid it the next day, and has not been seen since. A bench warrant has now been issued for his arrest.
Before Mejia was released on Feb 5., Sarah Root’s parents — Michelle and Scott Root — asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold him, but the request was denied because Mejia had “no prior significant misdemeanor or felony conviction record.”
Mejia missed a 2014 court date in regards to a traffic violation — driving the wrong way on a one-way street — but was taken into custody after pleading guilty to a traffic offense in May 2015. Neither charge was a felony.