CINCINNATI -- President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign for the White House was marred throughout by controversial generalizations about America’s Latino community -- among other things, the candidate claimed that the Mexican government was "forcing their most unwanted people into the United States" via illegal immigration and that a judge with Mexican heritage could not fairly preside over the Trump University lawsuit.
Now, as Trump prepares to take office in January, members of Cincinnati’s Latino community said they will be watching him closely while he lays out his administration’s plans for immigration reform and interaction with American Latinos.
Alfonso Cornejo, president of the Cincinnati Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said he believed Trump’s fiery campaign promises could be cooled by the influence of cabinet advisers and the practical demands of the presidency.
"I think the divisive rhetoric that he used is being modified, and maybe he’s listening to some advisers," Cornejo said. "Once he gets all the information that surrounds the complex issues, maybe he’ll be making good decisions."
Trump, however, reiterated many of his hard line immigration stances in an interview on CBS's '60 Minutes' and said he planned to immediately deport millions of people.
“What we are going to do is get the people that are criminal and have criminal records -- gang members, drug dealers, we have a lot of these people, probably two million, could even be three million -- we’re getting them out of our country,” he said.
When questioned about undocumented immigrants who do not have criminal backgrounds, Trump said he would decide their fate after 'securing' the U.S.-Mexico border.
"After everything is normalized, we’re going to make a determination on the people that you’re talking about," he said.
Cornejo is working to remain hopeful.
"He won the presidency, and we owe him the very chance to realize the things he can do and things he cannot do," Cornejo said.