“It’s our culture under attack, the American way of life,” said Ralph Medina, 77, who has spent the last three years traveling off and on from his home in El Paso to sell $20 Trump baseball caps at rallies across the country. “I’ve got family who was born over there in Mexico, but I’m American first. We’ve been here a long time.”
When asked if he saw any connection between the president’s rhetoric, racial divisiveness and the shooting in his hometown, Mr. Medina scoffed, calling it a “frenzy made by the media.”
“It’s silly,” he added. “How do you blame someone else for sick people who have been raised on video games?” (Mr. Trump and his supporters have made similar arguments, though there is no proven link between violent video games and mass shootings.)
Twenty years ago, Mr. Medina said, he often traveled from El Paso to Juárez, Mexico, for “restaurants and clubs and racetracks.” Now, he said, he would not think of crossing the border.
“El Paso has become a sanctuary city and now we’ve got all these people who don’t contribute, but they use our school system and they take our jobs,” he said, though research has shown that undocumented immigrants pay billions in taxes and largely fill low-wage jobs that American citizens are unwilling to perform.
Like many other Hispanic supporters, Charlie Gallegos, a 67-year-old Army veteran, said he resented that any kind of public benefit was offered to people who are living in the United States illegally.
“We’re hard-working taxpayers, we serve our country, we obey the law,” said Mr. Gallegos, who was standing in the winding line to enter the rally with several members of his extended family. His brother and nephew, both veterans, nodded in agreement. “We deserve health care, not them.”