Special to WorldTribune.com
Temperatures rose to an all-time high this past Saturday in Arizona but not because of the sweltering heat. Rather, it was a no-holds barred appearance by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, rallying to stop illegal immigration.
“The word is getting out that we have to stop illegal immigration,” Trump said to a cheering crowd of 5,000 people at the Phoenix Convention Center. “We have a situation that is absolutely out of control.
“We’re getting ripped,” he continued amidst thunderous applause. “We’re getting taken apart piece-by-piece slowly.”
Trump recently came under attack for statements he made on June 16 during his presidential announcement. He believes that many Mexican immigrants who cross the border are rapists, drug dealers and criminals.
As a result of Trump’s comments, NBC and Univision decided not to air the Miss Universe Pageant, which Trump owns. Macy’s Department Stores have taken Trump’s signature clothing line off their shelves, and NASCAR is moving their annual banquet from the Trump National Doral resort in Miami.
Trump stands by his statements and believes illegal immigration is a “major problem for our country.”
“We have to secure our borders,” Trump said. “We have to do something to protect our country.” Trump proposed charging the Mexican government $100,000 for every illegal immigrant it “sends over.”
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known as a staunch border-control advocate, introduced Trump at the rally. Trump delivered his 70-minute address with several supporters standing behind him on stage. They all held signs promoting his presidential motto: “Trump, Make America Great Again.”
According to Trump Spokeswoman Hope Hicks, 15,000 tickets were distributed for the rally, causing the event to be moved from its original location. Only one third were able to get into the ballroom at the Convention Center, which was packed to capacity. Thousands were turned away because of safety regulations.
During his speech, Trump introduced Jamiel Shaw Sr., the father of a high school student who was gunned down in the street in Los Angeles in 2008 by a Mexican illegal immigrant.
Jamiel Shaw Jr., was 17-years-old rising football star when gang member Pedro Espinoza mistook him for a rival gang member and killed him. Espinoza, who was in the country illegally, jumped out of his car and shot Shaw in the stomach before fatally shooting him in the head. In 2012, Espinoza was found guilty and sentenced to death for Shaw’s gruesome murder.
Shaw’s father supports Trump because he believes Trump is “telling the truth” on immigration.
In a press conference in Beverly Hills earlier this month, Shaw, Sr. compared the death of his son to that of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle. Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an illegal who had been deported five times, shot Steinle to death on a pier in San Francisco on June 30.
Despite the social and political backlash against Trump, many in Phoenix rallied to his defense. They stood in line for over an hour in scorching heat just to get a glimpse.
“I don’t think he insulted Mexican people at all. I think he really likes them,” said Bob Latzlo, from Sun City. “He employs a lot of Mexican people. And the thing about it is, I don’t think anybody or the Mexican people want illegals here that are criminals.
“I have Latino friends from Central America and from Mexico and they are for Trump. He is not a racist,” added Latzlo’s wife Barb.
Steve Sperkelli, a 50-year-old retired schoolteacher from Tempe also doesn’t believe Trump is a racist.
“He employs thousands of different minorities in his businesses and he shows no ill will against them and employs them for the money they need to be paid,” he said.
“I’ve always believed that legal means legal. And that’s what you have to do,” Sperkelli added. “I admire the people who go through the system and become legal citizens and those who don’t need to go through the system. You shouldn’t be able to get in the way many of them are.”
Many Macy’s customers agree. Macy’s has received approximately 30,000 complaints from customers since banning Trump’s clothing line. They believe the department store is unfairly punishing Trump for his views on immigration. They are vowing to cut up their Macy’s credit card and never shop there again.
“I sent my Macy’s card back because they tried to limit his sales there,” said Arizona native Nancy Deutch, who attended the rally “That is not fair to do that to someone. This is the United States of America.”
“I went in and saw Martha Stewart’s items on the shelf at Macy’s,” Deutch explained. “And then I went up and I tried to turn in my card and I said, ‘Well how come you carry her stuff? She was an insider trader, which she went to jail for. So, it is okay to cheat in the United States but not to tell the truth?”
“The silent majority is back, and we’re going to take the country back,” Trump concluded his speech. “We’re going to make America great again.” The controversial candidate is striking a chord across the nation — especially among those in border states who daily face the challenges of dealing with a burgeoning population of illegal aliens.
Loredana Vuoto is a legal U.S. resident from Canada who writes regularly on cultural issues for WorldTribune.com. She is a former speechwriter for Sen. Rick Santorum and was assistant national editor and an editorial writer at The Washington Times.