American real estate magnate and 2016 Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump renewed his attacks on what he described as foreign terrorists masquerading as immigrants and refugees.
Speaking during a campaign stop in Portland, Maine, the controversial billionaire-politician warned that those people are a threat to the United States’ national security. “We are letting people come in from terrorist nations that shouldn’t be allowed because you can’t vet them,” Trump claimed.
“You have no idea who they are. This could be the great Trojan horse of all time,” he said. Trump then cited instances where immigrants from countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Uzbekistan, and Yemen engaged in terrorism or in activities in support of terror groups.
“An illegal permanent resident from the Philippines were convicted for plotting to join Al Qaeda and the Taliban in order to kill as many Americans as possible,” Trump said.
He is very likely referring to the case of Ralph Kenneth DeLeon, who was found guilty in early 2015 by a US district judge from California of two counts of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists and one count of conspiring to kill American troops and conspiring to receive military training from al-Qaida. He is now serving 25 years imprisonment.
“We’re dealing with animals. This is a practice that has to stop,” Trump declared, slamming President Barack Obama and his rival, Democratic nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for supposedly being lax on undocumented immigrants.
“Hillary Clinton wants to have them (refugees and immigrants) come in by the hundreds of thousands,” Trump warned, which elicited loud boos from his live audience.
For his part, US Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii issued a statement defending Filipinos from Trump’s tirades. His state has been a destination for Filipino-American immigrants since the early 1900s.
“Donald Trump’s latest rant suggesting we ban immigration from countries like the Philippines that are helping us fight terrorism is another example of his reckless rhetoric that’s based on fear and division and further proves he is unfit to lead our country,” he said. Former President George W. Bush, for example, designated the Philippines as a major non-NATO ally way back 2003.
“For generations, Filipinos have made the United States their home. It is their vibrant culture, hard work, and strong values that have enriched our communities and made this country great, not the ignorant, racist bigotry of Donald Trump,” he further stated.