The additional immigration officers are so “we can eliminate MS-13 and root out the criminal cartels from our country,” Mr. Trump said. “Now, we’re getting them out anyway, but we’d like to get them out a lot faster. And when you see these towns, and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon, you just see them thrown in, rough — I said, ‘Please don’t be too nice.’”
He went on: “Like, when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put your hand over” their head. “Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody. Don’t hit their head. I said, ‘You can take the hand away, O.K.?’”
The officers assembled behind the president applauded. But a short time later, the Suffolk County Police Department sought to distance itself from Mr. Trump’s urgings. “As a department, we do not and will not tolerate roughing up of prisoners,” it tweeted later on Friday afternoon. It said the department “has strict rules & procedures relating to the handling of prisoners. Violations of those rules are treated extremely seriously.”
At another point, Mr. Trump painted a cinematic portrait of freeing a shackled United States. “One by one, we’re liberating our American towns,” Mr. Trump said of the work to remove undocumented immigrants.
“Can you believe that I’m saying that? I’m talking about liberating our towns. Like you’d see in a movie,” Mr. Trump continued. “They’re liberating the town. Like in the old Wild West, right? We’re liberating our towns. I never thought I’d be standing up here talking about liberating towns on Long Island where I grew up. But that’s what you’re doing.”
Almost in passing, Mr. Trump criticized the Senate for refusing to approve a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and called for the nation’s health care law — President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement — to “implode.”
“They’ve been working on that one for seven years. You can believe that? The swamp. But we’ll get it done. We’re going to get it done. You know, I said from the beginning, let Obamacare implode, and then do it. I turned out to be right. Let Obamacare implode,” Mr. Trump said.
An estimated 300 protesters gathered several blocks away, outside the community college campus. Among them was Rodman Serrano, 23, a child of immigrants from El Salvador and Brentwood High School graduate, who said that Mr. Trump was spreading an exaggerated narrative that assumed all Latinos are being gang members.
Looking around the crowd of protesters, Mr. Serrano said, “This reinforces my hope that we are going to be able to fight against this president and the machine, and all the hate that’s going on.” He blamed crime on lacking school funding and after-school opportunities for youth.
Nearby stood Herby Johnson, 63, of Smithown, holding his “Bikers for Trump” helmet. He turned out to support Mr. Trump “to stop illegal immigration” and undocumented workers whom he accused of taking low-paying construction jobs and driving wages down for others in the industry.
“When they go, it will be better for everyone in construction,” Mr. Johnson said.