A political adviser to Donald Trump says the campaign does not have to worry about pursuing the Hispanic vote since most Latinos who do not like the GOP frontrunner are here illegally.
Michael Cohen, an attorney and executive in the Trump organization who is helping the candidate with his outreach to African Americans, acknowledged to Yahoo News that that there are Hispanic coalitions that don't like Trump, but incorrectly confined that dislike to people who can't turn out to the polls.
"And that's OK because the ones that don't like Trump aren't even here legally and they can't vote, so it doesn't really matter, right? And I understand their point of view. They're — they do not want to be asked to leave right? And go back where? Go back to their homes? You know they don't want to. So I understand," Cohen said in the story published Thursday.
Some three-quarters of the Latino population has American citizenship. In addition, there are millions more Latinos who are legal permanent residents and eligible for citizenship. Groups this election are targeting some of those Latinos to get their citizenship to become registered voters. The Latino Victory Foundation announced such a campaign on Thursday.
There was reaction on social media to the comments.
Polls have shown from two-thirds to three quarters of Latinos hold a negative view of Trump.
A Latino Decisions/ImpreMedia poll of registered Latino voters in battleground states showed 71 percent of those surveyed had an unfavorable view of Trump. Just 15 percent of the registered voters had a favorable view. Since they are registered voters, they would be citizens.
Aside from the polls, in October, a group of Hispanic Republicans publicly denounced Trump and warned him they would not support him in the general election if he continued with his campaign rhetoric that has been seen by many as bigoted.
While there are an estimated 11 million people in the U.S. illegally, about 8.5 million are from Mexico and Central and South America. That's a small portion of the estimated 57 million Latinos in the country overall.
For years the Latino population has been undergoing a demographic shift. Since about 2000, the U.S.-born Latino population has been growing at a faster rate than the immigrant Latino population. Additionally, some 800,000 U.S. born Latinos turn 18 every year, thus becoming eligible to vote and some 12 million Latinos who were eligible to vote last election, did not.