President Trump sat down for a roundtable discussion on border security during his visit to McAllen on Thursday.
Along with state leaders and Border Patrol agents, family members of law enforcement agents killed by illegal immigrants joined in the talks. This meeting included the mother of a Kingsville Border Patrol agent who was killed more than four years ago.
Speaking about her son, Marie Vega said, “I worried about his safety every day. Never in my wildest dream did I ever imagine my son dying at a family outing.”
However, that’s what happened to Javier Vega, Jr. In August of 2014, he was shot and killed protecting his relatives from two armed robbers who were also undocumented immigrants. Marie Vega says it was just supposed to be a day of family fun.
“It didn’t happen that way because we had a criminal illegal alien that killed him,” Marie Vega told those gathered at the roundtable.
In light of her son’s murder, Vega says she supports President Trump’s proposed wall. However, she also says improvements to border security should not stop there.
“When I say we need the wall, I don’t mean just build the wall. We need to enforce immigration laws. we need tougher judges,” Vega explained. “Our Border Patrol agents need to have what they should have — the equipment, the materials they need to do their job.”
Trump agreed with Vega’s sentiments in his reaction after listening to her.
“What Marie said is right. It’s more than just the wall,” Trump said. “We have to give these incredible people the tools to work with. we’re not doing that.”
Still, billions in funding for the border wall remain at the center of the immigration debate. Vega and others who’ve had family members in law enforcement killed by undocumented immigrants say they’re willing to publicly support any measure that they believe would prevent this type of crime.
“No family…should go through this.,” Vega said. “No one.”
One of the men convicted of murdering Javier Vega, Jr. was sentenced to death last year. In 2017, President Trump signed a bill to rename the Border Patrol Sarita checkpoint where he was assigned in honor of Vega.