December 11, 2023

Speaking in a city where three-fourths of residents are foreign-born, former President Donald Trump on Wednesday night promised to deport a massive amount of immigrants on the first day in office should he be reelected.

“Under Biden the U.S. has become the dumping ground of the world. .. They’re coming in in levels never seen before — never seen before in any country. There’s never been anything like this. Our country is being invaded. This is an invasion,” Trump said at a rally held in opposition to the Republican National Debate happening across town simultaneously.

“On Day One I will terminate every open borders policy of the Biden Administration,” he continued as the crowd’s cheers swelled. “And we will begin the largest domestic deportation operation in American history.”

While the comment was met with thunderous applause, the location for such remarks is also notable: Trump held his rally in Hialeah, a city where 95.8% of residents are Hispanic, and 74.1% are foreign-born, according to U.S. Census data.

The enthusiasm isn’t entirely surprising in South Florida, where Trump remains highly popular with Hispanic voters. Several residents at the rally told the Herald that their families migrated to the U.S. legally from Cuba, emphasizing that they oppose illegal immigration specifically.

Trump was also met with fanfare from local officials. At one point during the rally, Hialeah Mayor Esteban “Steve” Bovo joined Trump onstage and promised to name a city street after the former president.

”You’ve always kept your promise to the residents of this great nation,” Bovo said, “and we’re appreciative.”

Miami Herald staff writers Joey Flechas and Verónica Egui Brito contributed reporting.