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Donald Trump: Relationship with Hispanics is "very good"

Last Updated Jul 23, 2015 9:57 PM EDT

Near the U.S.-Mexico border, Donald Trump told reporters that thousands and thousands of Hispanics worked for him and that the relationship is "very good."

Trump made the trip to Laredo, Texas to tour the border, even though the group that invited him, a local Texas Border Patrol officers union, had to back out of the events at the last minute, indicating in a statement that the union's national leaders had wanted to avoid the appearance that it was endorsing Trump.

"After careful consideration of all the factors involved in this event and communicating with members of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) at the National level, it has been decided by Local 2455 to pull out of all events involving Donald Trump," the group said. "As Local 2455, our intentions to meet with Mr. Trump was to provide a 'Boots on the Ground' perspective to not only Mr. Trump, but to the media that would be in attendance at this event."

The Republican presidential candidate told the press in Laredo, "At the last moment, they said, 'we can't get involved,'" Trump said at a brief press conference in Laredo Thursday afternoon. "I heard they got those orders from Washington."

"It is unfortunate the local union of Border Patrol Agents received pressure at a national level not to participate and ultimately pulled out of today's event," Trump's campaign said in a statement. "They are being silenced, and are very unhappy about it, as told directly to Mr. Trump. It can only be assumed that there are things the politicians in Washington do not want Americans to see or discuss."

On Wednesday, Trump had talked about visiting the southern border this week because he had been "invited by border patrol and they want to honor me, actually, and thousands and thousands of 'em because I'm speaking up."

Trump gained national attention in recent weeks for his inflammatory comments calling Mexican immigrants "rapists" and criminals. He attributes his recent spike in the polls to bringing attention to illegal immigration.

At his Laredo press conference, Trump said that in order to address illegal immigration, "You have to make people that come in - you have to make them legal. You have to let people do their jobs."

He added that he is "absolutely" still in favor of a wall at "certain sections" of the U.S.-Mexico border. "It will save you a tremendous amount of money," he said.