“We have some bad hombres here and we’re going to get them out,” republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said during the third and final presidential debate Wednesday night in Las Vegas, NV.
Trump’s use of the word hombre, which is the Spanish word for man, marked a bizarre bilingual moment that may have further alienated Latinos, a group whose votership already leans strongly toward democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
The republican candidate’s clumsy wording was made in reference to immigration and securing the southern border, an issue both candidates addressed during the debate.
Trump reinforced his support for building a wall between the U.S and Mexico.
“We need strong borders,” Trump said. “We have no country if we have no border.”
Clinton responded to the same question regarding her policies on immigration through an emotional anecdote as she spoke of a young Latina woman she had met in Las Vegas who was worried she would be separated from her parents if they were deported since they were not born in the U.S.
“I don’t want to rip families apart. I don’t want to be sending parents away from children,” Clinton said. “I don’t want to see the deportation force that Donald has talked about in action in our country.”
Clinton said she wants to introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
Though Trump supports the strong separation of the U.S. and Mexico at the borders and plans to deport those in the U.S. illegally, he said he does want to help the Latinos here, especially those in “inner cities.”
“They have no education, they have no jobs, I will do more for African-Americans and Latinos than she can ever do in 10 lifetimes,” Trump said. “All she’s done is talk to the African-Americans and to the Latinos.”
Trump’s tone-deaf rhetoric may be the reason a recent survey by Pew Research Center shows Hillary Clinton holds a three-to-one lead over Trump amongst Latino voters, with 58 percent of Latino voters saying they would vote for Clinton and 19 percent for Trump.
These numbers reflect a significant hurdle for Trump in traditional battleground states like Florida, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada which have sizeable Latino populations. Recent polls from Univision show Clinton leading in all four states, with a significant increase in her lead in Florida and Colorado between September and October.