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Latino Trump Supporters Stand By Him After Flurry of Executive Orders

Latino Trump supporters may feel a little uncomfortable with some of Trump's orders, but they are standing by him and mostly approve.
Inauguration Day Trump supporter
A Trump supporter displays his support for the president in Washington, D.C. on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2016.Suzanne Gamboa / NBC News/Suzanne Gamboa

MIAMI -- For Patricia Gallardo, a physical therapist who voted for President Donald Trump, the executive orders he has taken during his first days in office are not surprising.

“He hasn’t done anything he didn’t say he was going to do,” Gallardo said.

She backs the immigration order signed on Friday that restricts travel from seven Muslim-majority nations and temporarily halts the entry of all refugees. Syrian refugees have been banned indefinitely.

Gallardo feels for the innocent people affected by this order but said “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”

She said she wants the U.S. to avoid the terror attacks that have occurred in Europe recently and said “It (the executive order) is extreme, but it had to be done.”

Related: Amid City Protests, Trump's Immigration Order Has Support In This Small Town

During his first days in office, Trump has engaged in an ambitious agenda, which includes different executive actions from one involving the health care law, to building a border wall and ramping up immigration enforcement in the U.S., and suspending immigration from some Muslim-majority countries. Across the country, Latinos who helped vote Trump into office say they stand by their choice and defend his actions, even as the administration comes under attack by its opponents.

One of the most controversial executive orders for Latinos was when Trump fulfilled his campaign promise to begin construction of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. A meeting between Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto and Trump that was scheduled for January 31st was cancelled after Trump wrote in a tweet “if Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.” Mexico has repeatedly said it won’t pay for the wall.

Vince Martinez, a Trump supporter from the Houston area who was working in the oil and gas industry until last year said Trump “has done a great job since day one.” He supports the building of a wall along the border and said “I am not against immigration. I’m against illegal immigration.” At his job, Martinez was required to commute to Mexico once a week where he became even more aware of the close relationship between the U.S. and Mexico and said “I think Mexico needs the U.S. more than we need Mexico.”

“I think Trump is stern to his word. If he gives in a little bit, it’s a sign of weakness,” he said.

Related: Economists to Trump: Paying for the Wall Is The Least of Your Worries

Another executive order that caused an uproar among Latinos involved “sanctuary cities.” The order allows the attorney general and the secretary of Homeland Security to withhold grant money from cities that don’t fully comply with federal immigration authorities.

But the most explosive has been the immigration order signed on Friday. An estimated 20,000 refugees from all over the world will be affected by Trump’s order on refugee resettlement, according to the United Nations.

As travelers became stranded all over the world when the order was first signed, protests swelled at airports throughout the country. Trump has said the temporary suspension is needed to protect the U.S. from potential terrorists while the administration strengthens their vetting system.

In a news conference Tuesday, DHS Secretary John Kelly defended Trump's order and called it a "temporary pause" that creates time to review the country's refugee and visa programs.

Danny Vargas, a Virginia-based Republican consultant, thinks the executive order on immigration could have been executed better. “I support efforts to secure our homeland and keep us safe.” But he said there could have been more examination of the consequences, more coordination among the agencies involved and better communication.

Related: Trump Says He's 'Solved' Latinos Feelings Of Being Under Attack

“My hope is that it will be a learning opportunity for an administration that is just coming in," Vargas said.

On the other hand, he said the executive order signed on Monday, cutting regulations on small businesses has broad support among Latino Republicans. “I think this will see incredibly large support among Hispanics in general.”

Vargas said one of his biggest concerns is that there needs to be more effort from all parties to unify the country.

“The rifts that exist between communities are wide and deep and expanding,” he said.

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