It is clear that the comments made by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump about undocumented Mexican immigrants were absolutely racist. What seems unclear is Trump’s lack of understanding on why those comments were offensive — not only to Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, but also to all Latinos.
Trump announced his candidacy on June 16. That same day, he made his racist remarks, characterizing Mexican immigrants as “drug dealers, rapists, and criminals.” He did not provide any evidence, and he probably didn’t anticipate the consequences of his actions. NBC, Univision, Macy’s and many others proceeded to cut off all ties with him.
Trump’s disconnect from the Mexican community was apparent during the first GOP debate, which took place on Aug. 6. Fox News moderator Chris Wallace asked the candidates about their views on immigration.
“If it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t be talking about illegal immigration,” Trump said.
Trump is not the first to talk about immigration and most definitely will not be the last. He is an arrogant and overpowering businessman who does not realize the amount of power that his words can have on the general public. A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that Trump leads all GOP candidates by 24 percent.
At a certain point in the debate, Trump was asked to provide concrete evidence to demonstrate why he believes the Mexican government is sending these “criminals” to the U.S. However, he was unable to support his claims with valid evidence because his statements are based on a racist ideology.
Initially, Trump circled around the question. Wallace repeated his question and allowed Trump 30 seconds to provide an answer.
“Border Patrol, I was at the border last week. Border Patrol, people that I deal with, that I talk to, they say this is what’s happening. Because our leaders are stupid. Our politicians are stupid,” Trump replied.
Again, he failed to answer Wallace’s question and instead blamed Border Patrol, leaders, and politicians for the entry of undocumented immigrants into the U.S. Though he is quick to place the blame on the government, his solution ignores the underlying issue.
To be sure, there is a possibility that Trump might genuinely believe what he says. But his ideas, such as building a wall with a door in it, are the completely wrong way to address illegal immigration and ultimately do not provide a practical solution.
Unlike Jeb Bush, who claims to understand why families and individuals migrate to the United States, Trump has not put himself in the position of immigrants themselves. But doing so is necessary for someone who wants to become the president of a nation built by immigrants.
From the perspective of a student who comes from a Mexican immigrant family, I strongly believe that someone like Trump does not have any of the qualities it takes to be president of the U.S. If the comments that Trump originally made about undocumented Mexican immigrants held any truth to them, then would the right thing not be to address the problem and come up with a viable solution?
When people are in search of safety, financial stability, or better educational opportunities, there is not much that will stop them from immigrating to find that.
It’s clear that Trump knows that whenever he is talking in front of any group of people, they are all waiting to hear what he has to say. He knows everyone is waiting for him to say something utterly outrageous or ridiculous. If Trump suggested ideas that provided real solutions and used the power of his words, then he could possibly do great things for this country. Unfortunately, Trump has chosen to take a different path.