Donald Trump Continues To Reach Out To Latino Voters
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Donald Trump's campaign has been insisting all this week that he hasn't changed his views on immigration. But yesterday, he did tell Fox News, referring to undocumented migrants, there's no amnesty, but we work with them. Trump decided to postpone a major immigration speech scheduled for today as his campaign continues to fine tune his immigration policy.
A few days ago, Trump met with a group called the National Hispanic Advisory Council for Trump. We called one of those Trump supporters who was at that meeting. Reaching him in his car, Kentucky State Senator Ralph Alvarado.
RALPH ALVARADO: It started off with the economy and jobs, the fact that there are 2 million more Hispanics in poverty under the Obama administration. There are concerns about education, trade policies, particularly with Latin America. We talked about immigration policy, religious liberties. It was a very frank and open discussion.
MONTAGNE: Can you remember one question that just struck you when he asked it?
ALVARADO: Whenever we brought up, for example, statistics on things, he would ask about that more in detail. He would ask us, you know, our opinions and how would you move forward in resolving this or how would you do that? So he's open-minded.
MONTAGNE: Donald Trump is well into his run for the presidency and his signature issue seems to have been immigration. His supporters this whole past week are still chanting build the wall, build the wall, so how does that compare to what he was talking about in this meeting?
ALVARADO: I don't think he changed his position. He didn't give us any commitments one way or the other. I got the impression that he's still forming some of his policies on not only immigration but on other matters as well.
MONTAGNE: But on immigration, in particular, he's been so, so outspoken from his earliest comments about Latino immigrants being rapists and otherwise not good characters, so he seems to have formed his ideas. How much off that could he get at this point from what you experienced?
ALVARADO: Everyone acknowledges that if you want to really reform the immigration issues in the country, you have to secure the borders of the country, and that's true of anybody. And I think even amongst Latinos, particularly people who have come here legally to this country, who have waited their turn in line that we have to secure our borders.
And so putting up a wall, I think, does not produce a lot of heartburn particularly. The other important thing I think that - he talks about having a big door on that wall, and he talks about it celebrating legal immigration into the country, letting people come in legally, know who they are, why they're coming in. Those are things that I think are important that the messaging from this campaign would be that going forward - that he's not somebody who's anti-Latino or anti-Hispanic. He just wants to protect the country.
MONTAGNE: The possibility of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants - did that come up in this meeting?
ALVARADO: Well, there were some people that, you know, said they talked about a lot of different issues about immigration in detail. A lot of the comments about it were probably private. I know that was kind of the understanding when we left the meeting, but I can say that we talked about immigration policy in general. We talked about border security and those kind of things in general. It was a very open, very good discussion, but I think he's still formulating some of these policies. So he did ask a lot of questions, and it was a very good back and forth.
MONTAGNE: Thank you very much for talking with us.
ALVARADO: Oh, my pleasure. Anytime.
MONTAGNE: Dr. Ralph Alvarado is a state senator from Kentucky, and he's with the National Hispanic Advisory Council for Trump. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.