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Are Reps. Ciscomani, Salazar, Valadao Endorsing Family Separation, Mass Deportation, and Red-State Armies or Will They Publicly Denounce Their Party’s Nominee?

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Republican battleground Members, particularly those representing heavily-Latino districts, must be forced to be on the record if they support the targeting of their communities for mass round-ups   

The Biden campaign marked the sixth anniversary of the Trump administration’s official announcement that it would be the official policy of the U.S. to rip children, including nursing infants and toddlers, from the arms of asylum-seeking parents. The campaign’s ad, “Ripped Apart,” features gutting audio of sobbing children separated from their families in 2018. “They scream ‘Mami’ and ‘Papá’ over and over again,” ProPublica reported at the time, “as if those are the only words they know.”

It remains one of the most horrific eras in our modern U.S. history. More than 1,400 children remain separated due to the Trump administration’s cruelty and incompetence, and even for others who’ve been reunited, the traumatic effects linger years later. GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump now pledges to go even further if he wins in November, including launching a “red state” army to round up and purge millions of workers from their homes and communities. Despite this dark chapter in our history and his dystopian promises, he maintains support from key Republicans.

Arizona Republican Rep. Juan Ciscomani has not only endorsed Trump for reelection in 2024, he’s discussed his possible return to the White House in an excited tone. “President Trump is going to come in with a different energy than the first time,” Ciscomani told Telemundo in March. Wrong. Yeah, it’s worse than last time. Not only has Trump dehumanized immigrants as “animals” and “not people,” he’s repeatedly minimized the deadly Charlottesville rally where white supremacists chanted “Jews will not replace us.” Ciscomani also represents an agricultural region that highly depends on immigrant workers, many of whom lack legal immigration status. But if Trump returns to the White House, so does noted white nationalist Stephen Miller, who plans to recruit local law enforcement and National Guard from sympathetic GOP governors to help carry out his mass deportations. Will Rep. Ciscomani be okay with Miller deploying his “red state” deportation army of local police and National Guard to his district to separate families and deport workers from their homes, schools, and workplaces?

Florida Republican Rep. María Elvira Salazar has positioned herself as a middle-of-the-road thinker on immigration, introducing an immigration bill that her office touted as The Dignity Act. She got some good press out of it, but her true colors showed when she provided a critical vote to a different bill. H.R. 2, more accurately known as the Child Deportation Act, would gut asylum, increase child and family detention, and do nothing to create solutions – and Salazar helped pass it. Salazar represents all of Miami-Dade County, the most populous majority-Latino county in the nation. Miami-Dade is also home to about half of all Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders from Haiti, Honduras and Venezuela. Florida itself is the second largest state for TPS recipients in the country, local officials say. But in February, Salazar endorsed Trump, tweeting a picture of the two as she made a thumbs-up motion. Is Salazar giving a thumbs-up to Trump’s plan to deport millions of immigrants, including many Cuban and South American TPS holders who have fled dictatorial regimes? Is Salazar giving a thumbs-up to Miller’s red state deportation army marching on Little Havana to separate families and purge the immigrants who make up one of the most vibrant areas of the nation?

While California Republican Rep. David Valadao got some headlines for saying he won’t endorse a presidential candidate this year, he should also get some headlines for what he has endorsed. Like Ciscomani in Arizona and Salazar in Florida, Valadao provided a critical vote to pass the Child Deportation Act. Valadao also helped get this fundamentally anti-child bill across the finish line despite claiming support for young undocumented immigrants in his political ads. Valadao also represents an agriculture-rich district, including Delano, which has a history as a hub of farmworker organizing. But while Valadao has talked about the need for immigration reform and solutions for young immigrants and farmworkers, the current session of the U.S. Congress has seen him repeatedly vote with the most extreme and nativist members of his caucus. He’s also trying to position him as neutral when Trump’s policies are set to devastate his district. Will Valadao continue to remain silent as Trump pledges to double-down his attacks on the Dreamers he claims to champion? Will he continue to remain silent as Miller promises to deploy his red state deportation army on Delano and other farming communities in California’s Central Valley to separate families and deport the farmworkers who sustain the agricultural industry and feed us?