Playing Up Support Among Hispanic Voters, Trump Takes Aim at Immigration Laws

MESA, Ariz. — President Trump blasted immigration laws and border security at a boisterous rally here on Friday, all while playing up his support among Hispanic voters.

He distorted the current immigration system and the migrant caravan nearing the United States and deployed the inflammatory language of his 2016 campaign, even resurrecting the phrase “bad hombre,” a term he coined as a presidential candidate.

“You’ve got some bad people in those groups,” he said. “I’ll tell you what, this country doesn’t want them.”

But even as chants of “build the wall” erupted repeatedly throughout the night, Mr. Trump described his prevailing popularity with Hispanic voters, polling the crowd to see how many were in attendance. The response was lukewarm.

“We’re doing very well with Hispanic Americans,” the president said. “They want safety at the border. They want great jobs.”

Mr. Trump’s messaging about immigration extended to the rest of his day in Arizona.

After the signing of a presidential memorandum about water projects in the West, the president asserted, in response to a question about the migrant caravan heading to the United States-Mexico border: “A fairly big percentage of those people are criminals. It’s not happening on my watch.”

Hours later, during a round-table discussion with military officials and representatives from defense companies at Luke Air Force Base, he contended, “These are not little angels coming into our country.”

When pressed about his assertion that the migrants headed for the United States were criminals, Mr. Trump scoffed, but offered no specific evidence.

“These are tough, tough people, and I don’t want them, and neither does our country,” he said.

The rally on Friday, the second of three this week on the West Coast, was part of a broader effort by the president to harness his popularity among core supporters to help Republican candidates in the midterm elections.

He pointed to the accomplishments of Representative Martha McSally of Arizona, who is locked in a highly contentious race for Senator Kyrsten Sinema’s seat. A vote for Ms. McSally, he said, “would be the second-greatest vote you’ve ever cast.”

“The first-greatest vote,” he added, “was for me.”

In attacking Democrats, Mr. Trump mischaracterized his opponents as pushing for “open borders.”

“Democrats believe our country should be a giant sanctuary city for criminal aliens,” he said.

(Over all, Democrats support border security measures but have opposed the border wall he has sought to build.)

And he returned to an assertion that he has pushed at campaign rallies in recent weeks: that the Democrats are a mob, intent on exacting revenge on Mr. Trump for his election victory.

“The Democrats have become an angry, unhinged mob, determined to get power by any means necessary,” he said. “Vote for the jobs, not for the mobs. Just do it.”