NEW YORK — If Donald Trump is elected president, he wants to send undocumented immigrants like Ricardo Aca back to Mexico.
There’s just one hitch for the 2016 presidential candidate: Aca works in the Trump Soho Hotel in New York City.
Aca told CNN Espanol that he was proud to work at a 5-star hotel, where he was hired two years ago. But after Trump described Mexican immigrants like him as criminals, drug dealers and rapists, he felt he had to speak out.
“Trump keeps pointing out all these immigrations who have done terrible things, but those aren’t the immigrants that I know. That’s not what we’re like,” Aca said in a short video posted on Facebook and YouTube on Monday where he describes his life story.
Aca isn’t technically employed by the Trump Organization because he works as a busboy at the Koi Soho restaurant, which leases space at the Trump hotel. It’s one of three jobs Aca has.
While many Republicans have been vocal about wanting to stop more illegal immigration, Trump has gone the furthest along, saying he would deport the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country and build a wall between the United States and Mexico.
In a slight softening of his immigration stance, Trump did tell CNN’s Chris Cuomo that he would try to bring the “really good ones” back legally after they are deported.
Aca is a political litmus test for Trump. He crossed the border into the U.S. illegally at age 14 with his sister and stepfather. He has completed high school, learned English and earned an associates degree from LaGuardia Community College.
At 24, Aca is still undocumented — he doesn’t have a Green Card or passport — but he is allowed to work in America because he is part of the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It requires young people like Aca to renew their status every two years, but Trump has vowed to end Deferred Action entirely.
When Trump was asked specifically about Aca, he told The New York Times: “He’s got a legal work permit. I’ve heard he does a good job. We thought he was an illegal immigrant at first.”
Trump said he wouldn’t push for any punishment, and Aca was at work as usual on Wednesday. The video Aca made with the New Left Media project is starting to go viral with over 32,000 shares on Facebook.
Aca told CNN he isn’t worried about getting fired. There are more jobs out there, and he has received a lot of support from his work colleagues.
“I believe it’s important to defend not only myself but my country and the Hispanic community from Donald Trump’s characterization [of us] as criminals. We are not,” Aca said.
Aca says he has never met Trump personally, and he wouldn’t vote for him.
“I may have an accent, but I’m not stupid,” he said in the video. He associate’s degree is on photography, and Aca has taken pictures for a project on his personal website of Mexican immigrants holding signs that say “Not a rapist, not a criminal, not a drug dealer.”