NEW YORK — Some Indian Americans are backing Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, ahead of the crucial primary here later this month, saying they agree with his views on stopping illegal immigration and feel a Trump presidency could benefit India.
A report in the New York Times on the sentiments of immigrants towards Trump said some small groups of immigrants have come forward to support him despite the fact that he has said "Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers, suggested a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S. and called for the deportation of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country."
The report quoted Indian American lawyer Anand Ahuja, founder of the political action committee Indian-Americans for Trump 2016, as saying that he supports Trump for wanting to stop immigrants from entering the country illegally.
"You should not reward people who have broken the law," Ahuja was quoted as saying in the report ahead of the April 19 primary.
"You follow the law, you get punished. That's why I like Donald Trump when he says, 'Let's build a wall.'"
He added, "I believe anybody who came in this country illegally should be deported."
Adity Sharma, 30, a law student, and one of about 20 members of the Facebook group Hindus for Trump, said the business mogul is a "strong" and "different" candidate.
She and the group's other members believe that current American policy is too friendly toward Pakistan and that Trump could change that to benefit India.
They also approve of Trump's proposed ban on Muslim refugees, the NYT report said.
"By him not being so politically correct, it does make people sit up and listen," she said in the report.
Experts, however, feel that support groups for candidates, like the one launched by the Indian-American group for Trump, do not reflect the entire community's sentiments and choice.
The report quoted Devesh Kapur, director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania, as saying that Ahuja's group was an "outlier in an Indian diaspora that had overwhelmingly voted for Democrats."
In the 2008 presidential race, 84 percent of Indian American voters chose Barack Obama, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
"It has no reflection of representativeness by a long, long shot," said Kapur.
"Whether it's Sikhs for Trump, Hindus for Trump, in each of them you would say: 'Really? How can that be?' It’s a really tiny fraction. They represent themselves, not all Sikhs."
Ahuja, however, added that showing support for Trump also invites backlash and criticism.
"You become a subject of mockery and fun and criticism," Ahuja said, adding that he faced a lot of flak on social media for supporting Trump.