WASHINGTON (AFP) - Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump launched new attacks on immigrants Thursday (Aug 4), telling supporters that Somalis and other refugees from "terrorist nations" should be barred entry to the United States.
"We are letting people come in from terrorist nations that shouldn't be allowed because you can't vet them," Trump, who has built his campaign around an anti-immigration platform, said at a rally in Portland, Maine.
"You have no idea who they are. This could be the great Trojan horse of all time," he said, reprising a warning that terrorists including members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremist group will sneak into the United States as refugees.
"This is a practice that has to stop." He pointed to the Somali immigrant population as an example of the "thousands" of refugees who have flooded into Maine and other US states and caused problems.
Trump said efforts to resettle Somali refugees - many of them in Minnesota - were "having the unintended consequence of creating an enclave of immigrants with high unemployment that is both stressing the state's... safety net and creating a rich pool of potential recruiting targets for Islamist terror groups."
He then listed several immigrants, mostly from Muslim majority countries - Afghanistan, Iraq, Morocco, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Uzbekistan and Yemen - who were arrested for conducting or threatening to carry out violent attacks, teaching bomb-making to recruits, and otherwise supporting terror groups.
"We're dealing with animals," he seethed.
Trump caused an uproar last December when he called for a temporary ban on all Muslims entering the United States, and he has harangued his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for seeking to allow many times more refugees into the country than President Barack Obama has.
"Hillary Clinton wants to have them come in by the hundreds of thousands," Trump warned Thursday, to a chorus of boos.
"You're going to have problems like you've never seen."