SEATTLE - It's been a cornerstone issue of his campaign, as GOP nominee Donald Trump has connected illegal immigration to crime and weak border security to drugs.
“The Seattle area recently experienced the largest number of heroin related deaths, think of it, in 20 years,” said Trump in Everett Tuesday night. “It’s getting worse. It's getting horrific. They have drugs now pouring across the border that most people have never even heard of.”
During the speech, Trump also linked an old talking point to a new one, about inner cities and communities of color, saying Democratic policies have failed them.
“It brings in illegal immigrants and refugees to take jobs from African American and Hispanic citizens, and they want those jobs,” Trump told the crowd.
“Trump is just trying to pit worker against worker, immigrant against citizen,” countered Teresa Mosqueda, political director of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
“This is all rhetoric that he's bringing to his campaign in an attempt to pit worker against worker and to win votes, and it's not working if you look at recent polls. You can see that Latino voters, African American voters, they see through these lies."
Mosqueda, also a One America Votes board member, was among those protesting Trump’s return to Washington State.
She calls Trump's surprise trip to Mexico on Wednesday pandering to voters.
“We know where he stands. He doesn't respect the people of Mexico; he doesn't respect immigrants or respect refugees,” Mosqueda continued.
Supporters and critics alike will be watching to see what Trump says on immigration in Arizona Wednesday night, during what’s billed as a major policy speech.
“I think the new folks around him are trying to get him to soften,” said NBC Political Director Chuck Todd. “Anything they can get him to do to at least soften a bit, they think, helps him maybe not with Hispanic votes but with suburban votes.
While his position on the wall is not expected to change, the question that remains is whether Trump will tweak his stance on calling for the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S.
Copyright 2016 KING