June 22 (UPI) -- President Donald Trump on Friday welcomed families he described as "the American victims of illegal immigration" to the White House after a week of political turmoil over immigrant families being separated at the border.
Joining him at the White House were people whose family members were killed in crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.
"We're gathered today to hear directly from the American victims of illegal immigration. You know you hear the other side, you never hear this side. You don't know what is going on," Trump said in remarks.
Trump has more than once invoked the name of Kate Steinle -- a 32-year-old woman who died in 2015 after being shot by an immigrant previously deported -- to push his immigration policies. The man who shot Steinle, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, was acquitted of her death. His lawyers argued he found a gun on the ground and accidentally fired it, killing the woman.
Trump said undocumented immigrants commit more crimes than U.S. citizens.
"I always hear that -- 'Oh no, the population is safer than the people that live in the country.' You've heard that, fellows, right? And I say is that possible? The answer is it is not true. You hear like they are better people than what we have, than our citizens, it is not true," he said.
In 2016, state and federal correctional facilities had 1.3 million prisoners, of which 83,556 or 6 percent, were non-citizens, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Census data show 13.5 percent of the U.S. population in 2016 were immigrants.