Along the campaign trail, Donald J. Trump likes to pick out the people who, despite his having insulted their ethnic group, support him in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
And with Trump leading in the polls in New York’s presidential primary on April 19, some small groups of immigrants have come forward to support him. Never mind that he has said Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers, suggested a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States and called for the deportation of the more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country.
These immigrants are supporting him for reasons that are intensely personal and, not surprisingly, are often aligned with their politics back home.
Anand Ahuja, of Long Island, who was a founder of Indian-Americans for Trump 2016, a political action committee that oddly does not raise money, visited the United States on a tourist visa from India, and said friends were marrying for green cards. They stayed and prospered, but he returned to India and waited nine years to immigrate legally.
Ahuja praised Trump for wanting to stop immigrants from entering the country illegally. “You should not reward people who have broken the law,” he said. “You follow the law, you get punished. That’s why I like Donald Trump when he says, ‘Let’s build a wall.’”
Devesh Kapur, director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania, said Ahuja’s group was an outlier in an Indian diaspora that has overwhelmingly voted for Democrats. In the 2008 presidential race, 84 percent of Indian-American voters chose Barack Obama, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
“It has no reflection of representativeness by a long, long shot,” said Kapur, who is an author of a coming book about Indian immigrants’ success in the United States. “Whether it’s Sikhs for Trump, Hindus for Trump, in each of them you would say, ‘Really? How can that be?’ It’s a really tiny fraction. They represent themselves, not all Sikhs.”