Former President Donald Trump made border security a cornerstone of his first White House bid, and in light of the rampant illegal immigration ushered in by his predecessor, he is once again stressing the need for strong borders as he campaigns for another term.
Ahead of the South Carolina primary election later this month, Trump has been making appearances alongside his supporters in the state, many of whom have joined him in emphasizing the need to address illegal immigration.
“The first thing we’ve got to do when Donald Trump is president is take the southern border seriously again like he did as president of the United States,” said U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) during a recent campaign rally in Conway. “He started the wall and it’ll be time to finish the wall.”
For one state lawmaker who has endorsed Trump, however, the border issue has had a more personal impact. In October, Republican state Rep. Stewart Jones’ goddaughter was killed in a car crash reportedly caused by Gabriel Arteaga, the driver of another vehicle who was in the United States illegally.
The young girl, Maddie, was pronounced dead upon the arrival of paramedics. Her sister, mother, and grandmother were all transported to an area hospital via air ambulance where they were listed in critical condition.
Jones held a news conference this week to highlight the story as part of a broader statement about the border crisis.
“How many more American lives will be destroyed by open border policies?” he asked Maddie’s parents were also on hand and displayed photos of their daughter while promoting “Love Like Maddie,” a foundation they created in her memory.
Thank you for allowing me to share the story of Maddie today. We need @realDonaldTrump back in the White House because he will close to border and end senseless deaths like hers. https://t.co/S38hV4Z5yB
— Rep. Stewart Jones 🌙🌴🇺🇸 (@jones4liberty) February 2, 2024
Reports indicate Arteaga illegally entered the United States years ago and was deported while Trump was in office. He apparently returned during the Biden administration and, along with millions of other undocumented migrants, was not immediately flagged for deportation.
He is currently facing criminal charges including reckless homicide and driving without a license and faces up to a decade behind bars if convicted of the more serious count. A judge revoked his bail and, as of the latest reports available, he was in jail awaiting trial.