“The Donald” may be a big-mouth real estate tycoon from New York with a bark a lot bigger than his bite, but let’s not underestimate Donald Trump’s ugly hate campaign against Mexican immigrants. It is spreading like wildfire across the country and — in case you had not realized it — it has already made its way to Westport.

Just the other day, when I took my car to one of the finest car wash establishments in town, I picked it up and was quite pleased with its shiny new look. It had been waxed and cleaned inside and out. But I could not find my garage opener, which is normally attached to the visor over the driver’s seat. I called the fellow in charge at the car wash. He was bewildered and offered to drive right over to my house — a five-minute trip.

As soon as he opened the door to my car, he located the garage opener under a seat. I said I should have found it. Then, he told me a long story about a previous customer who had left a pair of very expensive custom sunglasses in her car and could not find them when she got home. She raved and ranted at the young Mexican manager of the car wash and accused him of “stealing" the glasses.

Further, she demanded to be paid back immediately. It was hundreds of dollars. The young Mexican man looked at me in bewilderment. "I don’t have that kind of money,” he explained. Besides, “We don't wear sunglasses in Mexico. We don’t need them because of our complexion.”

I thought his customer was being unreasonable. I tried to comfort him. So much for that incident. But I decided to write this column. I thought the damage Donald Trump is doing to prejudice the psyche of so many Americans against Mexican immigrants is un-American, at least, criminal, at worst.

The New York business mogul sharply criticized Hispanic immigrants and Mexico during the formal launch of presidential campaign June 16. “They’re sending people who have a lot of problems,” he said during his address at New York City’s Trump Tower. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

“And some,” Trump added, “I assume, are good people.”

He has repeatedly reiterated similar immigration positions since then, defying critics and rivals for the White House.

Trump currently is leading the packed field of Republican presidential hopefuls, according to a poll of registered party voters. He is the first-choice candidate of 15 percent of registered Republican voters, according to this week’s Economist/YouGov poll, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul at 11 percent each. Trump is the second-choice candidate for an additional 12 percent of respondents, while Bush and Paul garnered 7 percent each in that category.

In fact, 49 percent of registered Republicans viewed Trump favorably during the July 4-5 survey, compared to just 38 percent during a survey concluded June 15, three days after the businessman announced his candidacy. His unfavorable rating dropped from 47 percent in June to 43 percent in the most recent poll, even as Trump has stood by and repeated his June remarks.

Macy’s, NASCAR, NBC and Univision have all ended their corporate partnerships with Trump over the last month. Celebrity chef Jose Andres, meanwhile, has also abandoned his dealings with Trump. Andres announced recently that he is no longer opening a Spanish restaurant for Trump’s upcoming hotel in Washington, D.C. “More than half of my team is Hispanic,”

Andres said of his decision, “As a proud Spanish immigrant and recently nationalized citizen myself, I believe that every human being deserves respect, regardless of immigration status.”

Andres is absolutely right. This is what the heart of the immigration debate should be all about.

Not Donald Trump.

Woody Klein is a Westport writer. His “Out of the Woods” column appears every other Friday in the Westport News. He can be reached at wklein11@aol.com.