MILWAUKEE: Two leading Republican US presidential contenders attacked Donald Trump’s plan to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants, accusing him during a debate on Tuesday of making impractical proposals that would help Democrats win the White House.

Trump, who has led opinion polls in the Republican race for months, has come under fire from Democrats and Hispanic activists for proposing an immigration plan that would build a wall on the border with Mexico and round up and deport undocumented immigrants.

Ohio Governor John Kasich and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush both criticised Trump’s plan, which many Republicans fear will alienate Hispanic voters who are vital to winning the November 2016 election.

“That’s the problem with this. We need to win the presidency, and the way you win the presidency is to have practical plans,” Bush said, adding Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s staff was “high-fiving” over the proposal.

A Clinton campaign spokesman, Brian Fallon, tweeted during the debate that “we actually are doing high-fives right now.” Trump and Kasich also clashed after Kasich told the flamboyant billionaire that “False little things, sir, they really don’t work when it comes to the truth.” Trump replied that he had built a company worth billions of dollars.

“I don’t have to hear from this man, believe me,” he said of Kasich, drawing boos from the crowd.

The debate comes at a critical time in the race for the Republican nomination, with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Trump fighting to hold their spot atop polls and Florida Senator Marco Rubio trying to build on the momentum of his last strong debate performance.

Carson has faced a rough week of scrutiny about whether he embellished key aspects of his biography, while Rubio, 44, is under pressure to show he can fight off recent criticism of his inexperience as he tries to unseat fellow Floridian Bush as a favourite of the party’s mainstream.

Carson lashed out at his critics and said he did not like being “lied about.” Carson has faced a series of reports in the past week casting doubt on his stories about his violent outbursts as a youth and a scholarship he said he was offered to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2015

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