Calling Donald Trump “a symbol of hate against my community and the immigrant community in general,” the brother of murdered Ecuadorian immigrant Marcelo Lucero asked that Thursday’s planned Trump visit to Patchogue be called off.
Joselo Lucero spoke Monday at a press conference — which was covered by regional and national news outlets like CNN — with another Latino immigrant advocate, the Rev. Allan Ramirez, a retired Pastor of Brookville Reformed Church.
Trump is scheduled to attend a Suffolk County Republican Committee fundraiser at 5 p.m. Thursday at The Emporium, which is on Railroad Avenue not far from where Marcelo Lucero, 37, was ambushed by seven teens who were out looking to attack an immigrant in 2008. All seven were subsequently arrested and convicted.
“He’s a presidential candidate; he should know what this place symbolizes and what happened on this spot” near the train tracks, Rev. Ramirez said.
A representative for the Trump campaign, Hope Hicks, said the candidate has not yet issued a statement about the planned stop to Patchogue Village — or requests to cancel it.
Lucero said some of Trump’s comments about immigrants on the campaign trail — as well as his call for a Mexican border wall and mass deportations — can instill resentment and hatred among people, and cause tragedies like what happened to his brother.
“Eight years ago we had somebody like Donald Trump on the local level and we saw the consequences,” he said, although he didn’t name former county executive Steve Levy, who was called out in a New York Times editorial Friday. “Now we have somebody at the national level, who can be worse than that.”
Lucero has since been speaking in area schools about the consequences of bullying and intolerance.
Suffolk Republican Committee chairman John Jay LaValle could not immediately be reached for a response on Monday. [Update: LaValle has since responded with a public statement, a quote from which appears here. The entire statement appears at the bottom of this report.]
“Neither Mr. Trump, nor the Suffolk County Republican Committee’s more than 1,000 members, many of whom are Church-going upstanding members of the community, would ever condone a hate crime,” LaValle said. “To the contrary, leaders like Mr. Trump stand for enforcing immigration laws that members of both parties have largely ignored for 30 years.”
Reached by phone, Levy said he was sure the committee’s choice of venue was purely coincidence, and not a calculated move as some have suggested.
“The Suffolk Republicans have had dozens of events at [The Emporium],” he said.
“I’m not going to criticize this guy’s brother; I can imagine his pain,” Levy continued. “But I can say that, in general, the far left will demonize people who speak out over illegal immigration, and they’ll try to suppress free speech.”
“There’s a distinction between legal and illegal immigration,” Levy continued. “That’s why so many people get frustrated with the New York Times editorial board and a lot of the left-leaning media.
“Just because you’re against illegal immigration doesn’t mean you’re a xenophobe, but that doesn’t fit the narrative.”
LAVALLE’S COMPLETE STATEMENT:
The Suffolk County Republican Committee (SCRC) is committed to providing the public with opportunities to get closer to candidates and representatives in government. We believe this is an important part of the political process and is protected by the First Amendment. The Committee looks forward to continuing this tradition this Thursday night.
Thursday’s event at The Emporium, which is a frequent venue for Suffolk County Republican Committee events, was scheduled more than two months ago. At the time, the event was open to all Republican candidates for President. Mr. Trump confirmed his attendance last week.
And while we offer the greatest empathy possible to the family of Marcelo Lucero, who was brutally murdered by a group of teens in 2008, we can’t help but to be suspicious of the motives of those leading the charge to connect that vicious hate crime with Mr. Trump’s commitment to enforcement of immigration laws that have gone largely ignored by both parties, for 30 years.
It is no coincidence that the first person to try to link the two was a staunch Democrat, doing so under the guise of being a local pastor. The fact that he sent his letter asking the Committee to relocate the event to the press, without ever sending it to me, is confirmation of political motives.
Neither Mr. Trump, nor the Suffolk County Republican Committee’s more than 1,000 members, many of whom are Church-going upstanding members of the community, would ever condone a hate crime. To the contrary, leaders like Mr. Trump stand for enforcing immigration laws that members of both parties have largely ignored for 30 years.
SCRC recently endorsed Mr. Trump – citing his success in business and ability to bring many new people into the Party and fully stands by that endorsement.