President Trump is continuing to paint immigrants as criminals, highlighting gang connections, calling family reunification a national security threat and bemoaning the death of a pro football player involved in an accident with a man living in the U.S. illegally, the Associated Press reports. Trump singled out the MS-13 gang, which is believed to be behind 25 killings on New York’s Long Island in the past two years. “We’ve really never seen anything quite like this, the level of ferocity, the level of violence, and the reforms we need from Congress to defeat it,” Trump told law enforcement officials and lawmakers, threatening another federal government shutdown if Democrats don’t agree to pass an immigration package he said would help keep gang members out.
“If we don’t get rid of these loopholes where killers are allowed to come into our country and continue to kill … if we don’t change it, let’s have a shutdown,” Trump suggested. “I’d love to see a shutdown if we don’t get this stuff taken care of.” Trump’s threat is part of a campaign to get Democrats to OK a sweeping immigration plan. The president wants billions for a southern border wall, cuts to legal immigration, and more money for enforcement and other changes in exchange for granting a pathway to citizenship for up to 1.8 million “Dreamers” living in the U.S. illegally. Trump called on Democrats to “get tough” on immigration, citing the death of Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson in a suspected drunken-driving crash involving a Guatemalan living illegally in the U.S. “So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson,” Trump tweeted. “This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!”