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California Immigrants See No Good Choice for US President


Many people in California say this primary was unlike anything they have experienced in the past.

"With my family there's been a lot of confusion with deciding who to vote for, but there's also been a lot of frustration," said first-time voter Monica Burgos.

VOA has been following the Burgos family since December. Because of their conservative views on issues such as abortion and gay marriage, family members registered as Republicans. They had picked former Republican candidate John Kasich, but their candidate dropped out; Donald Trump is the only Republican left in the race.

"I was very confused because I didn't know that it could come to this," said Maria Elena Burgos, a Mexican-American.

She and her husband, Salvadoran-American Rene Burgos, have voted in every election since they became U.S. citizens. This presidential election has been the toughest.

"It's very clear which candidate we don't want," said Rene Burgos.

They do not want Trump as president.

Making choices

"You don't have a lot of good choices so you really, really have to analyze which of the candidates at least will offer a better option because it has been really difficult," Maria Elena Burgos said.

FILE - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the California Republican Party 2016 Convention in Burlingame, California, April 29, 2016.

FILE - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the California Republican Party 2016 Convention in Burlingame, California, April 29, 2016.

She decided to vote for Kasich anyway, since his name is still on the ballot. Her daughter, Monica, decided to vote for Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, even though she is a registered Republican. Other immigrants chose other options.

"I left it blank," said Vietnamese American Le Khac Ly. He, too, had a difficult decision.

"I registered as a Republican. I don't like the candidates. I agree we need to be conservative but not that kind of conservative," said Ly, who disagrees with Trump's anti-immigrant sentiment.

Similar to many older generation Vietnamese-Americans, Ly has voted for Republicans in the past. But when it comes to immigration, he said, those with talent or who are seeking a better life — similar to many Vietnamese refugees — should have an opportunity to live in the U.S. "You can't close the door to everybody from the world."

The younger generation of Vietnamese-Americans lean more Democrat, including Hugh Tra who is a Bernie Sanders supporter. But he said if Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the only options in the general election this fall, he will vote for Clinton.

"I will vote and support her for president. Although I do not agree with her on all of her platforms, the alternative of having Donald Trump in the White House is worrisome. He has taken his campaign in a direction that is dividing America," Tra said.

FILE - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to people in the overflow area during a campaign event at Los Angeles Southwest College in Los Angeles, April 16, 2016.

FILE - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks to people in the overflow area during a campaign event at Los Angeles Southwest College in Los Angeles, April 16, 2016.

But Indian-American Vishnu Vallatharasn said Trump's views on immigration are fair.

"My parents were both legal immigrants when they came here, and they both worked really hard to gain that legal citizenship. They went through the legal process. They did everything the right way and now they have all the rights of a legal citizen," Vallatharasn said. "I don't believe anyone who comes here illegally should have the same rights."

Looking to the fall

Maria Elena and Rene Burgos are still not certain how they will vote in the general election.

"We don't like her in many ways, but I would probably still go with Hillary," said Maria Elena Burgos.

But Rene Burgos said there is still time for Trump to prove that he is a good candidate.

"There is always a chance, because he's not a politician by career so he has a lot of learn," he said. "You know it's very easy to say I'll build a wall or make America great, but how is he going to do this? He has to show what is his plan."

They say they'll have a few months before November to watch each candidate closely and decide how to cast the next ballot.

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