- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 11, 2016

Prominent Hispanic celebrities released a letter Thursday blasting Donald Trump for leading the GOP presidential field into “racist” territory, saying he’s permanently damaged Republicans’ outreach.

The celebrities, who include guitarist Carlos Santana, comic George Lopez, actress America Ferrera and actor Benjamin Bratt, said Mr. Trump has been the worst of the field in his comments toward immigrants, but said the rest of the candidates have moved toward him.

“Latinos should understand that Donald Trump embodies the true face of the entire Republican Party,” the celebrities said. “Sadly, he speaks for the GOP’s anti-immigrant, anti-Latino agenda.”

As evidence for the rest of the field, they pointed to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s use of the term “anchor babies” to refer to those born to illegal immigrants who are citizens by birthright, and can eventually sponsor their families. They also said Sen. Marco Rubio was anti-Latino because he has ruled out granting illegal immigrants citizenship rights during his term as president.

“The candidates cannot come back from these hard-line stances,” the celebrities said. “Trump is certainly an outlier for his racist remarks. But the rest of the Republican presidential candidates went off the deep end with him.”

Mr. Trump launched his presidential campaign with a pitch to build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and to crack down on illegal immigrants. He said Mexico was sending “rapists” and other bad elements to the U.S.

His crackdown comment struck a chord with GOP voters, but angered Mexico. Hispanic leaders in the U.S. said the comments were insulting to Latinos in general.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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