The Courier-Mail

Mi­grant card a big gam­ble for Trump

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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.

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