The New York Times: "What an Undocumented Immigrant Wanted to Tell Donald Trump"

by Jacki Granet


Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump’s campaign has weighed in on the immigration debate more times than one can count.  Perhaps most famously, he proposes to build a wall along the US/Mexico border and have Mexico pay for it.  In an effort to realize this proposal, Trump recently headed south for a meeting with Mexico’s President, Enrique Peña Nieto, who opposes Trump’s ideas. While the meeting allegedly showed a more restrained Trump, upon his return, he delivered an immigration speech that reiterated his tough stance on undocumented immigrants.

One person who was looking forward to hearing the speech was José Enrique Camacho, an undocumented immigrant who works as a groundskeeper at an apartment building in Phoenix, where the speech was delivered. Camacho has lived in the United States for 24 years. By his own account, Camacho does not drink or steal. Rather, he goes to church on Sundays and owns a car and a home. He has a daughter who just graduated college and a son who is in high school. He has always instilled in his children that the United States is a country where you can do anything, and unfortunately, Mexico is not.

Camacho wanted to attend Trump’s speech on immigration not because he aligns himself with Trump or his politics, but because he wanted to be able to share one simple thought with him. Camacho said, “Mr. Donald Trump, he doesn’t know that when we come here from Mexico, it’s because we’re hungry, we’re needy…We come here to help ourselves and our families.” Camacho continues, “Mexico can’t help us…If it could, no one would ever leave.” Camacho is one of eleven million undocumented immigrants who fear that if Trump wins in November, he will make good on his promise to deport all undocumented immigrants starting on his first day in office. Passing the legions of “Make America Great Again” red hat supporters, Camacho poses one last question, “Imagine what would happen if all the Mexicans left this country,” he said. “Has Donald Trump ever thought of that?”