Republican presidential candidate and former New York Gov. George Pataki is calling on all GOP candidates to stand up to fellow candidate Donald Trump's controversial comments about Mexican immigrants.

When he announced his candidacy, Trump depicted immigrants as "drug dealers" and "rapists," and later defended his remarks in a CNN interview, calling them "totally accurate."

Pataki's letter to other GOP candidates, which was also sent to Trump himself, said Republicans need to stand against those comments if they hope to attract enough votes to win.

"The last week of news coverage over the language used by Donald Trump to describe Mexicans has left me and a lot of other sensible people wondering what century we are living in," Pataki said in the letter.

"My fellow Republicans like to talk about how we have to appeal to the Latino vote if we are going to win back the White House," Pataki wrote. "They speak some Spanish, boast about 'telling it like it is,' or counsel to not be afraid to lose the primary to win the general — yet so far have been silent when it comes to denouncing these sad and divisive remarks."

Pataki said on Fox News Thursday that he agreed there are problems at the southern U.S. border, but he said it's unfair of Trump to say just "some" immigrants are decent people.

"My grandmother came from Ireland. A hundred years ago they were saying the Irish were drunks. My grandfather came from Italy. A hundred years ago they were saying they were all in the mafia. This is the type of divisive rhetoric I think is wrong," he said.

Pataki called on the Republican candidates to realize that such divisive tactics neither promote a presidential win, nor encourage good governance. He said that the next president must "represent all Americans."

"We also must have a leader in the White House all Americans can respect, not just some," Pataki wrote. Pataki's email ended with his entreaty for the GOP candidates to stand for "basic decency and integrity."

"Join me. Stand up now. Denounce his comments today," concluded the letter.

Trump was not quiet about his feelings towards Pataki and his letter. After Pataki posted a link to the letter on his Twitter account on Wednesday afternoon, Trump quickly took to the social media site to express his views, igniting a Twitter argument between the two candidates.

Despite the backlash, Trump has jumped in the presidential primary polls, both in key states and nationally. A Fox News national primary poll indicated that Trump was in second place with 11 percent. Pataki had one percent.

Trump's comments have also cost him the support of various other businesses and partnerships. Most notably, Univision, NBC and Macy's have severed ties with the billionaire following his speech.