Trump courts the Hispanic vote: ‘I love immigrants’

US President Donald Trump, who
officially launched his campaign for re-election this week, pitched himself
to Hispanic voters Thursday during an interview with the US Spanish-language
network Telemundo.

“I love immigrants,” Trump said, when presenter Jose Diaz-Balart asked the
president about his administration’s policies on child separation, on the
DACA program protecting people brought to the US illegally as children —
which the president ended — and on his “zero-tolerance” border plans.

“You mean illegal immigrants,” Trump said. “Because I’ve been very good to
immigrants.”

“This country is based on immigrants,” he said, insisting he’d welcome even
more to help fill the industrial jobs he says he’s brought back to the US
during his tenure.

During the interview — his first with a Spanish-language TV network —
Trump boasted of his popularity among Hispanics, claiming a 17-percent
polling improvement among the group, and said his presidency has seen the
lowest-ever rate of unemployment among Hispanics.

And that popularity is all thanks to his immigration and border policies,
Trump said.

“Because Hispanics want toughness at the border,” he said. “They don’t want
people coming and taking their jobs. They don’t want criminals to come,
because they understand the border better than anybody.”

Asked about tweets earlier in the week in which Trump claimed that
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would begin deporting “millions of
illegal aliens,” the president said he wasn’t just talking about people from
Latin America.

“Many of them are from China,” Trump said. “Many of them are from other
parts of the world that you wouldn’t even believe.”

Trump praised Mexico’s recent efforts to reduce the flow of migrants
through their northern border into the US after the White House threatened
the country with punitive tariffs.

And he said he believes 2020 Hispanic voters will appreciate his strong
stances on Venezuela and Cuba.

“Because I’ve been tough on Cuba,” Trump said. “Not the way Obama did it,
which was a disaster.”

Vice President Mike Pence is set to travel Tuesday to Miami, home to a
large Cuban immigrant community, to launch a pro-Trump initiative called
“Latinos for Trump.”

The president himself kicked off his 2020 re-election campaign Tuesday in
Florida, a key state where the Hispanic vote is powerful.

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