Look out, Mexico: Donald Trump is headed your way.
The 2016 presidential candidate has announced plans to visit the Mexico-Texas border this week, following a month’s worth of controversial remarks about the criminal nature of undocumented Mexican immigrants. Mr. Trump will travel to Laredo, Texas, on Thursday, where he will hold a press conference at the border and meet with members of the union that represents border control agents.
Trump has not been afraid to make his opinions on immigration known, starting with the declaration in his campaign speech last month that Mexican immigrants are “bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists.”
Since then, Trump has faced strong backlash from both liberals and conservatives alike for his comments, which many deemed offensive. Several companies including NBC, Macy’s, and Univision severed business ties with the real estate mogul, and his fellow Republicans have been actively working to distance themselves from Trump’s inflammatory comments.
"No one suggests that we shouldn't control our borders – everybody has a belief that we should control our borders. But to make these extraordinarily ugly kind of comments is not reflective of the Republican Party,” Republican candidate Jeb Bush told reporters on July 4.
One day prior, Trump had taken to Twitter to lament the immigration policies that allowed an undocumented immigrant to gun down 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle on a San Francisco pier.
On July 8, the head of the Republican National Committee spent nearly an hour on the phone with Trump, urging him to tone down his controversial remarks.
But Trump shows no signs of slowing down or holding back. When the notorious drug lord ‘El Chapo’ escaped from a Mexican prison three days later, The Donald sent out a series of “I told you so” tweets.
Despite the fact that Trump is currently the Republican frontrunner, it would appear that the majority of Americans – and most conservatives – don’t agree with his inflammatory remarks. In a recent Washington Post / ABC News poll, only 24 percent of Republicans and 16 percent of all Americans surveyed said they agree with Trump’s opinion that undocumented immigrants from Mexico are “mainly undesirable people like criminals.”
Border Patrol agent Hector Garza, the president of one chapter of the National Border Patrol Council, told CNN earlier this month that he invited Trump to come visit because he wanted to give him a “state of the border" and a "boots on the ground perspective.”
Garza said the invitation did not imply an endorsement, as the National Border Patrol Council, which is the agency’s union, frequently invites politicians to visit.
This will be Trump's fourth visit to the border.
This report includes material from the Associated Press.