Trump criticized by Democrat for ‘bigoted’ immigration message

The chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus on Friday tore into Donald Trump’s immigration message to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), calling his comments “bigoted” and borderline “racist.”

“Donald Trump may provide comic relief, but his bigoted comments at CPAC have no place in the discussion for realistic solutions to our country’s immigration problems,” Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (R-Tex.) said in an email to The Hill.

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As the first speaker at Friday’s CPAC event, the real estate mogul and reality TV host called immigration reform a “suicide mission” for Republicans, arguing that “everyone of those 11 million people will be voting Democratic.”

“When it comes to immigration, you know that the 11 million illegals, even if given the right to vote, you know, you're going to have to do what's right, but the fact is 11 million people will be voting Democratic,” Trump said.

“You have to be very, very careful, because you could say that to a certain extent the odds aren’t looking so great for Republicans, that you are on a suicide mission,” he added. “You are just not going to get those votes.”

Trump then advocated for opening the borders to European immigrants, who he described as “tremendous” and “hard-working people.”

“Nobody wants to say it, but I have many friends from Europe, they want to come in,” Trump said. “Tremendous people, hard-working people. They can't come in. I know people whose sons went to Harvard, top of their class, went to the Wharton School of finance, great, great students. They happen to be a citizen of a foreign country. They learn, they take all of our knowledge, and they can't work in this country. We throw them out. We educate them, we make them really good, they go home -- they can't stay here -- so they work from their country and they work very effectively against this. How stupid is that?”

Hinojosa called Trump’s message “an ill-informed economic myth” with racial undertones.

“His claims that European immigrants should have an easier immigration process than others is at best an ill-informed economic myth and at worst, racist rhetoric,” he said.

Hinojosa said 18 percent of all small business owners in the U.S. were immigrants, who account for 4.7 million jobs and carry a $776 billion economic impact. The bulk of these small business owners, Hinojosa said, were non-European.

“Clearly, there are fringe elements within the Republican Party that feel compelled to bloviate with ignorant and extremist rhetoric,” he continued. “Nonetheless, Democrats and the CHC have always stood ready to work with our responsible, reasonable colleagues in the Republican Party to bring about real reform.”