Hispanic community responds to Trump’s immigration policy
The same words spoken by candidate Donald Trump that have driven his GOP poll numbers have also caused phone lines to light up on the local radio talk show El Debate.
“There is amazement in regards to the comments by Mr. Trump and some of the candidates,” said Luis Montoto, host of El Debate and programming director for the La Movida radio station.
Montoto said callers were surprised by Trump’s popularity among GOP voters after the inflammatory remarks he made about Hispanic immigrants.
“They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they are rapists and some, I assume, are good people,” Trump said after announcing his candidacy for president.
“We call him the big mouthed one, the clown with the big mouth and that’s what he’s turned out to be and it is a circus,” Montoto said.
Trump’s high poll numbers have driven other GOP candidates to join in the immigration discussion.
“It is surprising how Donald Trump in particular has taken it to the extreme and I guess has obligated and forced the other candidates as well to follow that road and the Latino community is totally surprised by the road that they are taking,” Montoto said.
Most political experts believe the Hispanic vote is critical for any candidate hoping to win the White House in 2016. But some caution against writing off candidates proposing tough immigration reform.
“The Hispanic voter is not some single group out there. The candidates understand that you look at it in terms of state-by-state, region-by-region, there are ethnicities and also differences of socio-economic states,” said Maurice Sheppard, a political science professor at Madison College.
Sheppard said that while immigration has garnered much of the attention to this point, polls show the economy and jobs are still the two most important issues with voters. He said the candidates are focused on immigration now because of Trump’s current success.
“I think the other Republican primary candidates are responding to Donald Trump’s positioning of immigration policy being a crisis policy issue right now,” Sheppard said. “Just in terms of pure political survival the other candidates, such as Gov. (Scott) Walker are responding to those policy positions that Donald Trump is framing as a crisis and is pushing toward the front of the agenda right now.”