Hundreds of Latinos protest at Trump rally, clash with supporters

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A downtown Dallas rally by presidential hopeful Donald Trump produced some of the sharpest scenes of conflict yet in his campaign as hundreds gathered to protest his positions on immigration and confronted supporters as they left the event.

Inside the rally at the American Airlines Center sports arena, the biggest cheers from the thousands of attendees erupted when the Republican front-runner said it was time to stop illegal immigration.

"It's a massive problem," Trump said as the crowd around him stood roaring and waving Trump campaign signs and American flags.

But when the rally ended, supporters walked to their cars through a gauntlet of protesters, many of them Hispanic, shouting "shame on you." Some yelled back: "Keep them out!" Police struggled to keep the two sides separate.

Photos of Trump's Dallas rally:

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Donald Trump's Dallas rally rant
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Hundreds of Latinos protest at Trump rally, clash with supporters
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets have been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets had been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves to the audience gathered for a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets have been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets have been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets had been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump takes the stage to speak to supporters as he takes the stage for a campaign event in Dallas, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets have been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets had been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets have been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets have been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves to supporters after speaking at a campaign event in Dallas, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets have been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves to supporters as he takes the stage for a campaign event in Dallas, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures to the audience during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets have been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Trump, a New York businessman-turned-politician, has said he would deport the 11 million people estimated to be living in the United States illegally and build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. In a speech on June 16 launching his campaign, he said of people crossing the Mexican border: "They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime, they're rapists."

His comments drew immediate criticism, but in the weeks that followed Trump insisted they had not hurt his popularity among Latinos.

Dallas is 42 percent Hispanic and 51 percent white, but the demographics of the crowd of about 20,000 who came to see Trump was much different. Latino supporters were hard to find.

Karina Ramirez, a reporter for the local Spanish-language newspaper al Dia, roamed the arena looking for Latinos, studying the faces in the crowd. She approached a woman in a short, tight dress covered in paper printouts of Trump photographs. "Are you Hispanic?" she asked.


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"Of course not!" The woman said.

Ramirez finally found a couple, Davina Saenz, 28, and Ebaristo Torres, 35, who said they were Latino Trump enthusiasts.

"He's really speaking about change," said Saenz, who was born in Texas to a Mexican father.

"I feel the need to protect the border," Torres said.

Saenz added: "My mom, she's so anti-Trump."

Trump spoke at length on a wide range of topics from a renegotiation of trade deals with China and Japan to a replacement of President Barack Obama's health care plan, drawing regular laughs and cheers although many attendees began getting up to leave about an hour into the speech.

Related: Photos from Trump's recent visit to the Mexican border:

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Donald Trump at Mexican border
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Hundreds of Latinos protest at Trump rally, clash with supporters
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump waves from his vehicle during a tour of the the World Trade International Bridge at the U.S. Mexico border in Laredo, Texas, Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump arrives for a visit to the U.S. Mexico border in Laredo, Texas, Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump steps off his plane as he arrives for a visit to the U.S. Mexico border in Laredo, Texas, Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump waves after arriving for a visit to the U.S. Mexico border in Laredo, Texas, Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump arrives at the airport for a visit to the U.S. Mexico border in Laredo, Texas, Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks after arriving at the airport for a visit to the U.S. Mexico border in Laredo, Texas, Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump arrives to speak to reporters during a visit to the U.S. Mexico border in Laredo, Texas, Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks to reporters after arriving for a visit to the U.S. Mexico border in Laredo, Texas, Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
LAREDO, TEXAS - JULY 23: Republican Presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump exits his plane during his trip to the border on July 23, 2015 in Laredo, Texas. Trump's recent comments, calling some immigrants from Mexico as drug traffickers and rapists, have stirred up reactions on both sides of the aisle. Although fellow Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has denounced Trump's comments and his campaign in general, U.S. Senator from Texas Ted-Cruz has so far refused to bash his fellow Republican nominee. (Photo by Matthew Busch/Getty Images)
LAREDO, TEXAS - JULY 23: Miriam Ledezma, right, protests in front of the Laredo Airport as Republican Presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump visits during his trip to the border on July 23, 2015 in Laredo, Texas. Trump's recent comments, calling some immigrants from Mexico as drug traffickers and rapists, have stirred up reactions on both sides of the aisle. Although fellow Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has denounced Trump's comments and his campaign in general, U.S. Senator from Texas Ted-Cruz has so far refused to bash his fellow Republican nominee. (Photo by Matthew Busch/Getty Images)
LAREDO, TEXAS - JULY 23: Republican Presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump exits his car wearing a, 'Make America Great Again,' hat during his trip to the border on July 23, 2015 in Laredo, Texas. Trump's recent comments, calling some immigrants from Mexico as drug traffickers and rapists, have stirred up reactions on both sides of the aisle. Although fellow Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has denounced Trump's comments and his campaign in general, U.S. Senator from Texas Ted-Cruz has so far refused to bash his fellow Republican nominee. (Photo by Matthew Busch/Getty Images)
LAREDO, TEXAS - JULY 23: Republican Presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump listens as Laredo City Manager Jesus Olivares, center, and Laredo mayor, Pete Saenz, right, talks to the media along the U.S. Mexico border during his trip to the border on July 23, 2015 in Laredo, Texas. Trump's recent comments, calling some immigrants from Mexico as drug traffickers and rapists, have stirred up reactions on both sides of the aisle. Although fellow Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has denounced Trump's comments and his campaign in general, U.S. Senator from Texas Ted-Cruz has so far refused to bash his fellow Republican nominee. (Photo by Matthew Busch/Getty Images)
LAREDO, TEXAS - JULY 23: Republican Presidential candidate and business mogul Donald Trump talks to media from his car wearing a, 'Make America Great Again,' hat during his trip to the border on July 23, 2015 in Laredo, Texas. Trump's recent comments, calling some immigrants from Mexico as drug traffickers and rapists, have stirred up reactions on both sides of the aisle. Although fellow Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry has denounced Trump's comments and his campaign in general, U.S. Senator from Texas Ted-Cruz has so far refused to bash his fellow Republican nominee. (Photo by Matthew Busch/Getty Images)
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