Immigrants, Muslims in focus for 2016 election

Two of the most polarizing issues of this year's presidential election are Donald Trump's comments in support of a border wall with Mexico and a

Two of the most polarizing issues this election are Donald Trump's comments in support of a border wall with Mexico and a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

Two of the most polarizing issues this election are Donald Trump's comments in support of a border wall with Mexico and a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. (9/26/16)

HEMPSTEAD - Two of the most polarizing issues of this year's presidential election are Donald Trump's comments in support of a border wall with Mexico and a ban on Muslims entering the U.S.

Trump has called for a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the country, while his rival Hillary Clinton has stressed the need to build trust in Muslim communities.  And while Trump has pushed for a wall to prevent immigrants entering the country illegally from Mexico, Clinton has criticized her opponent for trying to wall off Americans from each other.

Residents are just as split on the issues as the candidates.

"I lock my doors at night not because I don't like anyone, but because I want to stay safe," says Dom Ciuffetelli, of Dix Hills. "Same thing with the country,"

Others see the wall not as a means of providing safety to Americans, but as a way of blocking others from safety of their own.

"Us building a wall or banning people, we're not giving the people -- the good people -- an opportunity to come and find a better life," says Huntington resident Valerie Guerrero.

Jose Gallego, who came to the United States from Colombia with a green card and recently became a citizen, says he's worried about the hate and prejudice he says is at the center of this election.

"This isn't only about one person but about a whole community," Gallego says.

Many in the Muslim community are also worried. Habeeb Ahmed, from the Islamic Center of Long Island, says the proposed Muslim ban is religious bigotry.

"We have never heard any presidential candidate talk like this, so it is something new for us and new for the community, and it is very disturbing," Ahmed says.

Ahmed says the focus should be on encouraging people of all religions to work together to combat terrorism. It's a step supported by many others who also say the priority needs to be making America safer.

Others say there are simpler changes that could improve safety.

"I'm not necessarily for a ban on Muslims, but I think there should be better background checks on everybody that comes into the country," says Marilyn Walsh, of Huntington.

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