Ben Carson was the only Republican to accept an invitation to speak to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials annual conference on Wednesday, CNN reports.
Carson spoke for 15 minutes, outlining his plan to secure the border and implement a guest worker program for the 11 million illegal immigrants currently inside the United States.
"As a compassionate nation we should ask what can we do to help people in nations that feel they don't have an opportunity in their nation," Carson said. "We need to be looking at ways that we can share the wealth and still maintain our borders and integrity."
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Carson told the group his reason for wanting the borders sealed isn't to keep out Hispanics, but to protect against terrorism.
"The reason I think we need to seal our borders completely, all of our borders — north, south, east, west — is not so much because I'm afraid of somebody in Honduras," National Journal quoted Carson
. "I'm afraid of someone from Syria that wants to bomb us and wants to do bad things."
NALEO Executive Director Arturo Vargas welcomed Carson, telling CNN, "The next president of the United States will be elected by the Latino community."
Among the GOP field, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is the son of Cuban immigrants, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's father is Cuban. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's wife, Columba, is from Mexico and they speak Spanish in their home.
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