MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s government on Wednesday slammed U.S. presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s proposals to deport undocumented immigrants en masse and make Mexicans pay for a wall separating the two countries as absurd, racist and ignorant.
Launching his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in New York in June, Trump accused Mexico of sending rapists and drug runners across the United States’ southern border and pledged to build a wall to keep illegal immigrants out.
Over the weekend, Trump said he would increase fees on some Mexican visas and all border crossing cards as part of a broader plan to make Mexico pay for the barrier. He also said he would deport millions of undocumented migrants.
“We continue to stand by our position that these comments reflect prejudice, racism or plain ignorance,” Mexico’s foreign ministry said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.
“Anyone who understands the depth of the US-Mexico relationship realizes that those proposals are not only prejudiced and absurd, but would be detrimental to the well-being of both societies.”
Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade had condemned Trump’s statements as colored by prejudice, racism and ignorance in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper last month. Other Mexican government officials have also criticized Trump.
A spokesman for the Mexican presidency said on Tuesday he had no comment on Trump’s latest proposals.
Donald Trump Loved and Hated by Hispanics in Border Towns.
LAREDO, Texas — There was an audible gasp from the gathered crowd as Donald Trump’s 757 lifted off the tarmac.
“Oh my God. Wow,” said Gina Gil, 48, after an excited shriek, reaching for her 11-year-old-nephew. “I think it’s a historic moment, ma’am. Seriously, I really do.”
Gil was referring to Trump’s visit Thursday to Laredo, Texas, a small city on the U.S.-Mexico border where the Republican presidential candidate spent less than an hour touring the border, bragged to reporters about the danger he faced, proclaimed Hispanics love him, and stopped traffic with a presidential-sized motorcade.
Yet beyond the spectacle The Donald seems to create wherever he goes, the billionaire businessman’s visit exposed evidence of a divided community whose overwhelmingly Hispanic population both decried Trump as racist and cheered his hardline immigration views. Interviews during and after the whirlwind tour with more than a dozen local residents underscored the danger Trump represents to the GOP’s relationship with Hispanic voters and his appeal to a vocal segment of frustrated voters, many Hispanics among them, who see a glaring problem on the nation’s southern border that requires attention.
Jessica Gonzalez, 79, a retired housewife who was born and raised in Laredo, said she’d watched as the city she’d grown up in had changed, with restaurants replaced with Mexican food and new people coming in.
“I think he’s right,” she said in the parking lot of a local CVS. “All we have is people from foreign countries. … It’s not like it used to be.”
Gonzalez — a Democrat — and her husband used to travel across the border frequently to shop and for entertainment, but are now afraid to cross because of violence from the drug cartels.
“I want to go down and say: Donald Trump, you’re on fire in Laredo! Because everybody feels what you think!” she said.
Outside Obregon’s Mexican Restaurant, Enrique Harrington Ramon, 75, said he felt Spanish-speaking immigrants “take advantage of us” in Laredo, and said people are responding to what Trump says “because it’s the truth.”
“I am sick of walking into a store and hearing ‘en que le puede ayudar?’ What country are we in?” he said.
Others in this growing city of about 250,000, where 95.6 percent of the population identified as Hispanic or Latino in 2010, lashed out at Trump, who described some Mexican immigrants in the country illegally as “rapists” and “criminals” during his announcement speech last month and has refused to apologize.
“I wish he wouldn’t come down here,” said Raul Gonzalez, 65, a retired trailer and truck mechanic who was born and raised in Laredo. “He’s very disrespectful to Latinos.”
Laredo-born Tony Flores, 82, who was wearing a cap that identified him as a Korean War veteran, said of Trump: “He is poisonous. He is hatred.”
While Hispanic voters along the U.S.-Texas border have a unique perspective, the vast majority of the growing demographic supports more forgiving immigration policies that would allow a pathway to citizenship or permanent residency for immigrants in the country illegally, according to recent polls. Trump, meanwhile, is viewed favorably by just 28 percent of Americans and unfavorably by 58 percent, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll conducted earlier in the month. About one-third of whites, but just 16 percent of Hispanics and 10 percent of blacks, have a favorable view of Trump.
At the airport, Patti Magnon, 43, who works for a law firm, said she brought her 6-year-old daughter to see Trump’s custom plane, emblazoned with his name in big gold letters, land and then returned to watch him go.
“He’s not wrong entirely. I’m from Laredo and I see the problems that we get,” she said, noting that Mexican workers used to come across the border to work and return home afterward, but now don’t want to leave.
“They get all the benefits that I can’t get. I have to pay taxes,” she complained.
Trump has appeared to tone down his immigration rhetoric in recent days. He stressed he’s opposed to illegal immigration, not those immigrants who enter the country legally. And he noted that he has employed “tens of thousands” of immigrants over the years.
At least one Laredo resident tried to ignore Trump altogether.
“I don’t think anything about him. He’s not right for a president,” said Joe Rodriguez, 50, a longtime Laredo resident who was born in Dallas. Rodriguez said he’d been invited to join a protest of Trump’s visit but decided it wasn’t worth his time.
“I said: ‘Why? Don’t protest. Don’t show him any attention,'” he said.
As emprical evidence shows that immigrants contribute positively to the economy and have lower crime rates than US-born citizens. I’m sympathetic to the plight of people who left their home country for a better life here.
For these reasons, I disagree with Trump’s plans to deport illegal immigrants. However, I don’t think that his plan is particularly racist,as some critics claim. Yes, mass deportation would be a massive undertaking and probably wouldn’t fall into the whole claim of being “fiscally conservative.” However, the fact of the matter is that under current US law, immigration into the country is illegal without documentation. You can’t label Trump racist simply for choosing to enforce a law that’s already official policy.
Additionally, I don’t think any of his actions so far have been outwardly racist either. His ‘rapists’ quip was evidently referring to the undocumented immigrants who commit crimes, not to the entire Mexican population. He threw Jorge Ramos out of his press conference because he spoke out of turn and wouldn’t stop speaking when asked. Trump is extremely careful about his image, regardless of how he seems to act. He knows that any genuinely racist actions or statements would hurt him, so everything he’s done so far avoids this.
tl;dr: Donald Trump’s policies are incorrect, misguided, and will likely be ineffective. However, they aren’t racist. CMV.