Trump honors parents of teen girls slain by MS-13 gang
Posted January 30, 2018 9:55 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) — In a poignant moment during the State of the Union address, the House chamber turned somber as President Donald Trump recalled the stories of Nisa Mickens and Kayla Cuevas, two teen girls murdered by members of the MS-13 gang.
"In September 2016, on the eve of Nisa's 16th birthday -- such a happy time it should have been -- neither of them came home," Trump said. "These two precious girls were brutally murdered while walking together in their hometown. Six members of the savage MS-13 gang have been charged with Kayla and Nisa's murders."
The parents, who were in the audience of Trump's first State of the Union address, could be seen tearing up as the President shared the story of the slain teenagers.
"Tonight, everyone in this chamber is praying for you. Everyone in America is grieving for you," Trump told the parents, who then were honored by a standing ovation.
Trump has spoken on the issue of MS-13 gang violence previously -- in a July speech he called for its destruction.
"Together we're going to restore safety to our streets and peace to our communities and we're going to destroy the vile, criminal cartel MS-13 and many other gangs," Trump said at the time.
Lawmakers in Washington are currently working to achieve a plan for immigration reform, and Trump used the address to tout his hardline immigration platform -- talking about the "glaring loopholes" in current US laws.
"Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as illegal, unaccompanied, alien minors and wound up in Kayla and Nisa's high school," Trump said.
The President has also been known to make disparaging comments about immigrants, from reportedly referring to "shithole countries" during immigration negotiations and as far back as his announcement speech, when he referred to some Mexicans as "rapists."
"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. ... They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people," Trump said in June 2015.