Trump attacks Biden on immigration after the domestic violence homicide of Michigan woman

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Former President Donald Trump speaks in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Biden's border policy on April 2, 2024. (Photo: Anna Liz Nichols)

Updated, 6:37 p.m., 4/2/24

Former President Donald Trump gathered Tuesday with Michigan GOP leaders to blast border security under President Joe Biden following the murder of a 25-year-old Grand Rapids woman, who was found on the side of a highway.

Ruby Garcia, 25, was killed in March. Law enforcement is alleging she was shot and killed by her romantic partner, Brandon Ortiz-Vite, 25, who was in the country illegally. He was previously deported to Mexico in 2020.

Ruby Garcia | Courtesy photo

“I spoke to some of her family. … Ruby’s loved ones and community are left grieving for this incredible young woman,” Trump said. “This monster had been deported, thrown out of the country, wasn’t going to be able to come back. … But he came back. We threw him out of the country and crooked Joe Biden let him back in and let him stay and he viciously killed Ruby.”

However, Garcia’s family told FOX-17 and WOOD-TV that Trump did not contact them.

“He did not speak with any of us, so it was kind of shocking seeing that he had said that he had spoke with us, and misinforming people on live TV,” Ruby Garcia’s sister, Mavi Garcia, told WOOD-TV.

Garcia was found dead by police officers on the side of US-131 in Grand Rapids on March 22. Two days later, Ortiz-Vite called 911 wanting to turn himself in for the murder, telling Michigan State Police he shot Garcia multiple times during an argument, according to Grand Rapids court records obtained by the Advance.

After shooting Garcia inside her vehicle, Ortiz-Vite told police he got out of the passenger side of the car and walked over to the driver’s side and shot Garcia, who he presumed to be still alive, again in the head. Ortiz-Vite told police he pulled Garcia out of the vehicle on the side of the highway and drove off.

Records show that in addition to the gunshot wounds, multiple which were in her head, Garcia had been run over.

Garcia’s obituary says she leaves behind a big family and friends who will miss her. 

“Ruby’s love for plants and traveling came nothing close to her affectionate smile that illuminated the room or contagious laughter that recreated the atmosphere. She cared so deeply for the people around her- so kind and passionate. She’s made an impact on many lives. She will be forever missed. We love you- until we meet again,” the obituary reads.

Advocates held a rally for immigration rights in Grand Rapids before Trump’s events and the Biden campaign held a press conference with Michigan Democratic officials pushing back on Trump’s attacks.

Trump is facing 88 criminal charges in four cases, including for his role inciting violence on Jan. 6, 2021, based on false claims of election interference and a separate case regarding classified documents.

After Trump had a lull in campaigning after essentially wrapping up the Republican nomination on March 5, Super Tuesday, he held the press conference in Michigan on Tuesday afternoon and is slated to do a rally in Wisconsin in the evening. Trump won both battleground states in 2016, but Biden won them in the 2020 election. 

 

Biden, who also all but clinched the Democratic nomination on Super Tuesday, has had a busier campaign schedule than Trump since then, visiting Saginaw on March 14 and doing other events in swing states, including Arizona, Pennsylvania and Nevada.

In addition to Garcia, Trump also brought up Laken Riley, a 22-year-old Georgia college student who has become the face of Republicans’ calls for stronger border and immigration policies. 

Riley was killed while jogging on the University of Georgia campus on Feb. 22. The suspect in the case is José Antonio Ibarra, 26, a Venezuelan man who was in the country illegally.

“Just a few weeks ago, I met with the grieving family of Laken Riley. She was incredible, top of her class. Everything was the top. She was the top of everything. She was incredible … [and] barbarically murdered by an illegal alien animal,” Trump said. “I’ll use the word animal because that’s what they are. … They’re not humans; they’re animals.”

At a press conference last week concerning the Garcia case, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said that he didn’t want to get into the politics of the immigration status of the suspect, but he did want to call attention to the case as “another case of domestic violence homicide” which has been happening “far too often” in recent years.

Becker talked about a similar case of domestic violence homicide in the county from May 2023 where a woman, Leah Gomez, 22, was shot and killed inside her car by the father of her 1-year-old child who was also in the car.

“It’s not a one-off, this is something we see. … This is the second case in under a year where we had similar circumstances,” Becker said. “We don’t want to see this happen. This is … the worst-case domestic violence scenario.”

Becker was asked if there had been any previous incidents of domestic violence by Ortiz-Vite reported to police, but declined to elaborate past the fact that he is not aware of any personal protection orders filed.

When a perpetrator’s immigration status isn’t solid, victims can be hesitant to talk to police or seek help, Becker said. And a victim’s immigration status can be used by a perpetrator to abuse power on another level and continue the cycle of abuse.

Just a few weeks ago, I met with the grieving family of Laken Riley. She was incredible, top of her class. Everything was the top. She was the top of everything. She was incredible … (and) barbarically murdered by an illegal alien animal. I'll use the word animal because that's what they are ... They’re not humans; they’re animals.

– Former President Donald Trump in Grand Rapids

“You look at domestic violence, which this is a domestic violence case, there’s a circle of violence and control. One of the things is control,” Becker said. “You’ve got this immigration status and what pressure that puts on the victims in terms of not cooperating with police and not helping out law enforcement stuff like that. So it’s an entirely different dynamic that we do see in Kent County.”

Providing care, regardless of someone’s immigration status, with cultural understanding for the Latino community is what Puertas Abiertas (Open Doors) in Grand Rapids is all about, founder Andrea Inostroza-Castro told the Advance ahead of Trump’s visit. The organization’s staff speaks both English and Spanish and the goal is “empowering Latina women to make healthy choices and live free from violence.” 

“The lack of the cultural part, [affects] many other organizations. There’s limitations [and] they’re calling us because they have grants; they have money to work with the Latino community but they didn’t know how to approach them. So what we have done is bridge the gaps,” Inostroza-Castro said.

She added that there was a lot of dread from the Latino community when the former president announced he was holding an event after Garcia’s murder.

“People are going to see [this] — immigrants, undocumented — it’s going to be a lot of hate. The hate is going to jump the violence,” Inostroza-Castro said. “The number of women that are dead, that have been murdered by their intimate partner here in Michigan is horrible.”

Members of law enforcement and domestic violence advocacy have told the Advance over the last year that the deadliness of domestic violence has been increasing in recent years. Issues like the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing housing crisis have made it more difficult for victims to escape their abusers, experts said.

Andrea Inostroza-Castro | Courtesy photo

“This is a thing that has been hurting women for so long. It’s not an immigration issue whatsoever,” Inostroza-Castro said of domestic violence.

Using anti-immigrant rhetoric helps feed the idea that a person’s immigration status makes them unworthy of help, Inostroza-Castro said. Many victims also are convinced that they or their loved ones will be deported if they seek out help.

“The Latino community tends to handle their problems and to manage their progress in their own home, because of culture, because of family, because of religion. … We are the bridge between court and the Latino community. So people coming forward need to know they have rights as a person — no matter immigration status,” Inostroza-Castro said. “You have rights as a person.”

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The post Trump attacks Biden on immigration after the domestic violence homicide of Michigan woman appeared first on Michigan Advance.

Election 2024, Elections, Immigration, Politics + Gov, West Michigan, Women's Rights, domestic violence, Donald Trump, Grand Rapids, immigration, Joe Biden, Trend – Election 2024

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