GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A defiant Donald Trump stood behind his plans to temporarily ban refugees from entering the country, broadly decrying immigration from the Middle East.
"Immigration from Afghanistan has increased five-fold. We don't know what we're doing, folks. Every year we bring in more than 100,000 lifetime immigrants from the Middle East and many more from Muslim countries outside of the Middle East. A number of these immigrants have hostile attitudes,” he told a crowd of over 6,000.
As he often does, Trump denounced Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s plans to allow refugees into the country, saying that she wants to increase the number of refugees admitted by 550 percent.
Trump also went on to criticize what he says, is a lack of assimilation among immigrants.
"So Hillary said -- and this is an exact quote, and just so you understand, I have many Muslim friends. These are great people. They’re amazing people,” he began. "The problem we have is whether it's 7 percent or 9 percent or 11 percent or 1 percent we’re having a tremendous problem in our country. We don’t know -- there doesn’t seem to be assimilation -- we don’t know what’s going on.”
Trump’s remarks come in the wake of the tragedy in Orlando, in which Omar Mateen killed 49 people in a gay nightclub.
Though Mateen was born in New York, Trump has used the shooting to defend his plans to bar refugees and put an end to immigration from any areas of the world with ties to terrorism.
"Once again we’ve seen that political correctness is deadly. They don’t wanna talk about the problem,” Trump said.
He used his platform to speak of Mateen’s parents who were born in Afghanistan.
"So the killer’s parents immigrated from Afghanistan as the Washington Times reported the children of Muslim american parents, they’re responsible for a growing number for whatever reason a growing number of terrorist attacks,”Trump said. The article that he cited provided no statistics to back up its claims.
The number of individuals implicated in jihad-inspired U.S. terrorist activity since 9/11, who are immigrants or children of immigrants, is likely somewhere between 140 and 300, based on the latest New America Foundation research.
Trump said he watched President Obama address the shooting today. "No one understood anything at the end of that speech other than boy does he hate Donald Trump," he said. "That’s about the only thing.”