Trump: 'Disgraceful that a person illegally in our country' killed Colts player in crash

By Tal Kopan and Maegan Vazquez, CNN
Updated 9:43 AM ET, Tue February 6, 2018

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump on Tuesday said that it was "disgraceful" that an NFL player was killed by a man who police believe is an undocumented immigrant in a suspected drunk driving accident over the weekend.

"So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!" Trump tweeted.

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson and another man were struck and killed in a suspected drunken driving accident early Sunday morning. Indiana State Police say the man they believe hit them is an undocumented immigrant who has been deported twice.

"My prayers and best wishes are with the family of Edwin Jackson, a wonderful young man whose life was so senselessly taken. @Colts," Trump said in a second tweet Tuesday morning.

The crash occurred when Jackson and the other man were struck on the shoulder of Interstate 70 in Indianapolis.

On Monday, Indiana State Police identified the suspected driver of the pickup truck as Manuel Orrego-Savala, a 37-year-old Guatemalan citizen who was in the US illegally and had been deported previously in 2007 and 2009. He is currently in custody and local authorities are working with federal immigration officials on his case, Indiana State Police said in a release.

Authorities allege Orrego-Savala was intoxicated and driving without a license.

According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Orrego-Savala was previously convicted in 2005 for driving under the influence in California and has several misdemeanor criminal convictions and arrests in California and Indiana.

Potential flashpoint

Trump has previously seized on crimes committed by undocumented immigrants to push tougher immigration policies. The 2015 killing of Kate Steinle in San Francisco by a previously deported undocumented immigrant became a rallying cry for conservatives who argue that any crime committed by an undocumented immigrant is preventable. Steinle's death led to a push for harsher penalties on immigrants who illegally re-enter the US multiple times, as well as criticism against so-called sanctuary cities.

Lawmakers of both parties have long agreed that the US should deport criminals from the US who are here illegally or otherwise deportable.

But Democrats and Republicans have sparred over the proper way to prioritize immigrants for deportation, and the Trump administration has aggressively sought to arrest and deport immigrants who have no criminal record along with those who are convicted of crimes.

Democrats and immigration advocates have argued that by focusing on the outlier criminal cases, Republicans and Trump are distorting the fact that immigrants are no more prone to criminal acts than the native-born population, and some studies have found they are actually less likely to commit crimes.

CNN's Patrick Cornell and Kimberly Hutcherson contributed to this report.