Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump engaged in a prolonged confrontation with the anchor of the nation's leading Spanish-language network during a news conference Tuesday, first having the well-known news personality removed before allowing him back in.
Jorge Ramos, the Miami-based anchor for Univision, stood up and began to ask Trump about his immigration proposal, which includes ending automatic citizenship for infants born in the United States to undocumented parents.
As Ramos began to speak, Trump interrupted him, saying he hadn't called on Ramos before repeatedly telling him to “sit down” and then saying, “Go back to Univision.”
As one of Trump's security detail approached Ramos, the anchor continued to speak, saying, “You cannot deport 11 million people.” Ramos was referring to Trump's proposal to deport all undocumented people in the country before allowing some of them to return.
As he was taken from the room, Ramos said, “You cannot build a 1,900-mile wall,” another proposal in Trump's plan.
Moments later, Trump justified Ramos' removal, saying: “He just stands up and starts screaming. Maybe he's at fault also.”
The billionaire businessman's immigration proposal has sparked intense debate within the 2016 Republican field. Several candidates, including former Gov. Jeb Bush, have called it “unrealistic.”
Ramos was later allowed back into the news conference. Trump greeted him politely, though they quickly resumed their argument, interrupting each other during an extended back-and-forth.
“Your immigration plan, it is full of empty promises,” Ramos began. “You cannot deny citizenship to children born in this country.”
"Why do you say that?" Trump replied. “Some of the great legal scholars agree that's not true.”
Citizenship for infants born in the United States is guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, and changing that would require amending the Constitution.
A Washington think tank that favors immigration restrictions, the Center for Immigration Studies, estimates that about 40,000 babies annually are born to parents who enter the United States specifically to have a child, and that most of those parents enter the country legally.
A 2010 Pew Research Center study estimated that in 2008, 340,000 babies born were born to undocumented parents.
During the five-minute exchange, Ramos said that 40 percent of undocumented people in tthe United States enter through airports, not over the Mexican border. “I don't believe that. I don't believe it,” Trump responded.
A 2006 report by the Pew Hispanic Center found that as many as 45 percent of the people in the U.S. entered with legal visas but overstayed them.
Trump said he did not believe that a majority of immigrants in the U.S. without the proper documents were criminals, or in the country to commit crimes. “Most of them are good people,” he said. But he described recent cases where people had been killed by assailants later determined to be undocumented.
Finally, Trump reminded Ramos that he was suing Univision, which dropped Trump's Miss Universe pageant after he described undocumented Mexican immigrants in the U.S. as “criminals” and “rapists.” Despite the controversy generated by his remarks, Trump has told the press that he will “win” the Latino vote.
Isaac Lee, chief executive officer of Univision, responded to the confrontation on Tuesday with a written comment: “We'd love for Mr. Trump to sit down for an in-depth interview with Jorge to talk about the specifics of his proposals.”
Asked later at the news conference about his confrontation with Ramos, Trump said: “I don't know really much about him. I don't believe I've ever met him except he started screaming and I didn't escort him out. You'll have to talk to security.”
Al Jazeera and wire services