Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks with reporters during a news conference in Beverly Hills, California on July 10, 2015, after meeting privately with families of people who were killed by immigrants in the country illegally. Trump repeated his condemnation of U.S. immigration policies, insisting that other countries send criminals to the United States, which gladly accepts them. ``So you have the illegals come in and the illegals kill their children, and we better get smart in the United States,'' Trump said. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
LOS ANGELES, July 11 (UPI) -- Still facing backlash over recent remarks he made about immigration in the United States, Republican presidential contender Donald Trump appeared in Southern California Friday to speak with families directly affected by the situation.
The real estate magnate met with the families at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, where he expressed more disappointment with the Obama administration's efforts to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
"People came into the country illegally and killed their children. And it's a very, very, sad thing what's happening with our country ... And nobody wants to talk about it," he said in a report by NBC News.
Among those Trump spoke with Friday were the family of a Los Angeles area teen who was killed by an undocumented immigrant.
"We love Mr. Trump. We're happy, because we know he spoke up and he said something," Althea Shaw, the teen's mother, said. His father, Jamiel Shaw, Sr., compared his son's death with that of Kate Steinle -- a 32-year-old woman who died in San Francisco earlier this month after being shot by an immigrant officials say had previously been deported five times.
"To me, he said it right. He was light on them," Shaw, Sr., said. "He just said 'rape.' Come on, I would have said 'murder.'"
The billionaire Trump is still facing criticisms for remarks he made last month when announcing his presidential campaign.
"When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best," Trump said on June 16. "They are sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems with us. They are bringing drugs, they are bringing crime. They are rapists, and some, I assume, are good people."
Since making those remarks, Trump has been dumped by multiple corporate sponsors, including NBC and the Professional Golfers' Association. Friday, he vaguely reiterated that comment.
"They're sending people into our country that we don't want, but we take, and that they don't want," he said of Mexico. "You know who they're sending."
Trump has sought to clarify his earlier remarks, saying they were removed from proper context and that it was more a criticism of the Obama administration than Mexican immigrants.
Trump is gunning for the GOP nomination in a field crowded with candidates, both known and unknown. Friday, a new poll by YouGov.com revealed that the real estate investor has an early lead over the Republican field.
According to the poll, 15 percent of surveyed GOP voters backed Trump. Jeb Bush and Sen. Rand Paul tied for second, CBS News reported.