At a rally in Portland, Maine, last week, Donald Trump took aim at a specific community of local immigrants: Somalis.

“So we’ve just seen many many crimes getting worse all the time," Trump said. "And as Maine knows, a major destination for Somali refugees. Right? Am I right? Well, they’re all talking about it, Maine Somali refugees."

But that line of attack seems to have backfired, especially in the town of Lewiston, which is home to 7,000 Somali immigrants, says Charles Sennott, executive director of The GroundTruth Project.

Instead of stoking fear, Trump's comments have actually prompted Mainers—including Republican Senator Susan Collins and Lewiston police chief Brian O'Malley—to rally around their Somali neighbors.

"Everybody from the Republican Senator to the Police Chief to the community at large, in a state that isn't at all bright burning blue, came out and said 'we're really proud of this," Sennott said.

"I thought that was a really encouraging sign," he continued.

On top of that, he added, Trump got the major facts wrong: crime rates haven't increased in towns with large Somali populations at all. In fact, they're going down.

"It's so 'The Donald' to throw those numbers around and to say crime rates are up, and as the police chief pointed out, crime rates are way down," Sennott said.

To hear more from Charles Sennott tune into Boston Public Radio above.