Trump spoke at a news conference at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Beverly Hills, California, where he was flanked by people who said undocumented immigrants had killed their family members.
“People came into the country illegally and killed their children," Trump said. "It's a very, very sad thing what's happening in our country."
The topic of illegal immigration has dominated headlines in recent days due to Trump's prior comments referring to undocumented immigrants crossing the border with Mexico as "rapists" and drug dealers. In the news conference, Trump also mentioned the recent, high-profile death of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle, who was fatally shot at a popular San Francisco tourist spot by an undocumented man who had been deported five times.
Trump insisted that the media has taken his comments about Mexican immigrants out of context because the press "in many cases is very, very dishonest."
"I have great respect for the country of Mexico," he said, adding "They're sending people into our country that we don't want but we take and that they don't want. And you know who they're sending."
The business guru's hardline rhetoric on illegal immigration prompted Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to allegedly call Trump this week and ask him to tone it down. While Trump disputed that characterization of the call, he did acknowledge that Priebus asked him to soften his tone.
Next, Trump is expected to speak Saturday at a GOP event in Phoenix, Arizona, where he won't get a warm welcome from some top Republicans in the state.
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) has called on the group hosting Trump, the Republican Party of Maricopa County, to pull out of the event. Without naming Trump, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) also released a statement Friday that said the recent "circus" surrounding illegal immigration damages the Republican Party.
"If the Republican nominee for president does not support comprehensive immigration reform and border security policy, we have no chance of defeating Hillary Clinton and winning the White House in 2016," the statement read.