Migrant card a big gamble for Trump
WASHINGTON: Billionaire Donald Trump has soared in opinion polls for the Republican presidential primary, but inflammatory anti-immigrant rhetoric could cost him the crucial Latino vote in the 2016 race for the White House.
“What Trump is doing is political suicide,” Patricio Zamorano, executive director of the consulting firm Infoamericas.info, said.
Since launching his campaign in June, “The Donald” (left) has catapulted to the top of the Republican polls, ahead of 16 other candidates, and at 28 per cent this week he is streaking away from his nearest rival by 16 points.
Immigration has dominated the agenda since then, with Trump, 69, promising to build a wall to keep Mexicans – who he has attacked as drug traffickers and rapists – from entering the US illegally.
He has also promised to deport the more than 11 million people living in the US illegally and to eliminate their US-born children’s right to nationality, which the outspoken Trump sees as potential magnet for undocumented immigrants.
Trump’s tough stance on immigration is forcing other Republican candidates to strengthen their rhetoric.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (inset) said yesterday the government should look at tracking illegal immigrants, like FedEx tracks its packages.
“We need to have a system that tracks you from the moment you come in and then when your time is up,” he said. “However long your visa is, then we go get you and tap you on the shoulder and say, ‘Excuse me, it’s time to go’.’’
Unsurprisingly, Trump is the least popular Republican candidate among Hispanics, a Gallup poll found.
“This is personal,” said Jorge Ramos, a Mexican immigrant and star news anchor on the top US Spanish language network, Univision. Trump kicked him out of a news conference in Iowa this week.
Trump’s meteoric primary surge has set off alarms among Republican leaders. After their candidate Mitt Romney proposed “self-deportation,” he helped hand a win to Barack Obama in 2012.