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“Shameful,” “Ugly”: Immigrants React To Donald Trump’s Arizona Speech

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A new piece from the Boston Globe lifts up the voices of those most affected by Donald Trump’s belligerent plan for America: the undocumented immigrants who call America home.

As we noted earlier today, it’s time for observers to stop claiming that Trump’s immigration plan has somehow softened. Trump is proposing “the most radical immigration policy of any nominee in modern American politics,” said Frank Sharry, with Jamelle Bouie of Slate saying Trump’s plan remains “deportation now, deportation tomorrow, and deportation forever.”

Trump’s extremism ignores the fact that many of these undocumented immigrants are deeply engrained in the American fabric. They have US citizen children, they pay taxes, and they are American in every way but on paper. Maria Sacchetti’s new piece, “Immigrants call Trump policy an ‘ugly situation,’” lifts up some of their voices and is a must-read, with a portion excerpted below.

After a predawn shift frying pupusas, a cook from Guatemala couldn’t stay up to watch Donald J. Trump’s speech on immigration. A 59-year-old baker from El Salvador missed it, too. As midnight approached, she was filling dozens of jelly doughnuts at Dunkin’ Donuts.

But Irma Giron watched the speech from beginning to end, and Trump’s pledge to deport unauthorized immigrants, or prevent them from becoming citizens, drove a chill down her spine.

“It feels so shameful,” the 39-year-old from El Salvador said Thursday as she waited for a ride on Broadway. “This ugly situation.”

In his speech on immigration Wednesday night, Trump made clear that Chelsea, Cambridge,

Somerville, and other US cities that have offered sanctuary to unauthorized immigrants would become targets if he were elected president. He vowed to strip the cities of federal funding if they refused to help deport unauthorized immigrants.

In a city like Chelsea, where nearly half the residents are immigrants, many could be subject to deportation under Trump’s plan. And in Somerville, where about 24 percent of the residents are immigrants, the mayor blasted Trump on Thursday.

“I think it’s time for people to stand up and call Donald Trump for what he is. He’s a liar, and he’s a bigot,” said Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone. “These undocumented immigrants that Donald Trump is attacking, they’re our neighbors. They contribute to this economy, and they love this country as much as you and me. And they love it more than Donald Trump.”


Many immigrants say they are just as concerned as Trump about crime, and even in this sanctuary city police have often worked with federal immigration officials to root out MS-13 gang members and other criminals to deport them.

“For criminals, fine, they do bad things, but what will they do with working people who are not doing anything?” said Julia Perez, a 54-year-old legal resident from Guatemala, as she waited with her 3-year-old granddaughter for the spin cycle to end at Full Service Laundry on Broadway. “We’re not all bad people.”

An owner of the laundromat agreed.

“Criminals, I probably would agree with that,” said Jim Chan, 30, as he manned the counter. But he said Trump wouldn’t get his vote.

“A lot of the things he says I don’t agree with.”

Chan said many immigrant families were just like his: His late father swam for hours to flee China in the 1980s, eventually making his way to Hong Kong and then to the United States, where he washed dishes in Boston’s Chinatown, bought properties, and moved to Newton.

He sent two children to college, including Chan, who because of China’s one-child policy at

the time, knows that if it were not for the United States, he wouldn’t exist. He is the second son.

“I think this is the best country in the world,” Chan said