tags: , , , , , , , , Press Releases

Ahead of Tonight’s Debate: Trump’s Un-American Ideas, Sharp Contrasts with Ronald Reagan, and the Threat of Long-Term Damage to the GOP

Share This:

Ahead of tonight’s Republican presidential debate, a range of observers are echoing some of our key assessments about the role of immigration in the 2016 contest: the dangerous and radical notions advanced by Donald Trump; the contrasts between the current field and Ronald Reagan on immigration; and the long-term political blowback that the GOP will incur if they continue to lurch right on immigration and alienate Latino voters in the process.  See below for excerpts and links:

David Leopold: “The Shocking Reality of Donald Trump’s Plan to Deport Millions”: In a pre-debate memo we issued yesterday, we noted that despite his outsized media presence in recent months, Donald Trump’s radical and nativist immigration ideas were still not fully appreciated by many observers.  His policy vision is ripped from the fringes of the anti-immigrant and white nationalist movements and explicitly calls for the mass-expulsion of 11 million people over the next two years.  Today, a new MSNBC.com opinion piece by David Leopold, the past president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), further underscores how Trump’s immigration vision is both chilling and un-American. Writes Leopold:  “The leading GOP candidate is talking about ferreting out, arresting, and forcibly removing a population of men, women and children roughly the size of the state of Ohio. Setting aside the Constitution for the moment – something most of Trump’s immigration platform ignores – let’s imagine what a grand scale deportation would mean in real terms. It’s frightening, extreme – and decidedly un-American.  First there would be the rooting out of undocumented men, women and children throughout the entire United States. Department of Homeland Security enforcement agents would have to fan out all over the country looking for undocumented immigrants … In Trump’s America, where the newly inaugurated president would seek to make good on his campaign promise to deport 11 million people within 2 years, what would happen to core American values including family, hard work, community and fairness?”

Vice President Joe Biden Puts Trump’s “Xenophobia” into Historical Context: Speaking at a Hispanic Heritage event last night, Vice President Biden critiqued Trump’s campaign as, “Appealing to the baser side of human nature.  Working on this notion of xenophobia in a way that hasn’t occurred in a long time.  Since the Know-Nothing party back at the end of the nineteenth century.”  Biden also predicted that the American public will reject Trump’s vision of America, noting, “We always, always, always, always, always overcome it.”

Washington Post Ed Board: “America’s Immigration ‘Dumping Ground’ Contributes to Vibrancy and Growth”: Today, the Post editorializes against Trump’s anti-immigrant language and assertions, noting that immigrants have been and remain a source of American strength, vitality, and inspiration.  The editorial concludes: “Xenophobia has deep roots in this country, as do nativist politicians who exploit it.  It may not be a coincidence that Mr. Trump’s message has found an audience at a time when the portion of foreign-born residents, about 13 percent, is at its highest point in a century.  But contrary to his fact-free hyperbole — that ‘cunning’ foreign leaders have contrived to offload their underclass — the United States remains a magnet for immigrants, as it has been for most of its history, because it retains a lively capacity to generate jobs in an economic and political system undergirded by rule of law.  That should be a source of pride, not an object of Mr. Trump’s sneering denigration.  And contrary to his understanding, immigrants in the United States today, like those of previous generations, tend to possess the traits that have helped build a successful and exceptional nation: risk-taking gumption, entre­preneur­ial drive, a commitment to hard work and fair play and a fierce belief in a better life for their offspring.  The United States is fortunate to have them.”

Janet Murguía of NCLR: “Trumpism is Toxic for Republican Presidential Hopes”: Murguía, the President and CEO of NCLR, writes how Latinos are engaged and already planning to turn their anger at Trump’s “toxicity” into voting power – a development with implications for the national GOP.  Writes: “Latinos know the toxicity Trump is feeding, and other Republican candidates are tacitly or actively endorsing, runs deeper than immigration.  They know Trump said ‘Mexicans and Latin Americans,’ not ‘illegal immigrants’ in those offensive remarks in early summer—and numerous corporations parted ways with him because it is indeed deeper.  Latinos see a party willing to strip babies and children of their citizenship, leaving them stateless in the nation in which they were born. Our community understands that this is really about challenging our very place in the American family … Latinos are responding against this demonization in the most American of ways: immigrants who are eligible are becoming citizens, and those who are citizens are registering to vote.  And NCLR and our nationwide network of Affiliates are there every step of the way to see this through, ensuring that we use our voice in the most powerful way we know how—to vote on Election Day.”

More Reminders About the Contrast Between Ronald Reagan & 2016 Republicans on Immigration: Tonight’s GOP debate at the Reagan Library will offer yet another sharp contrast on the issue between Ronald Reagan’s rhetoric and record on the issue and the current field of Republican contenders.  In a new piece, CNN’s Chris Moody writes:  “While Reagan is recognized among Republicans as the greatest president in modern times, most GOP presidential candidates are ignoring his approach to immigration.”  Moody’s piece cites the story of Aristedes Parada, who fled violence in El Salvador in 1979 and came to the U.S., eventually gaining citizenship through Reagan’s signing of the 1986 IRCA law.  Said Parada of Reagan and the current crop of GOP contenders, “They speak so much of Ronald Reagan.  But when it comes to immigration, they try to hide it somehow and don’t talk about it.”

The Real-Life Consequences of Trump’s Demagoguery and Intolerance: We have documented an arrayof recent anti-Latino and anti-immigrant attacks and confrontations – a list that, unfortunately, keeps growing.  A new Washington Post piece by Mary Jordan highlights the ugly racial climate surrounding the Trump campaign, including the growing number of clashes between Trump supporters and protesters.  Additionally, Jamelle Bouie writes in Slate, “Trump is a sideshow, and in the presence of his personality, it’s easy to overlook the ugliness behind his campaign. But it’s there, a debased successor to the nationalist white resentment of Pat Buchanan and George Wallace. And although spectators may miss it, it’s more than clear for the targets of his xenophobia, and the people who hate them.” And Julianne Hing assesses for The Nation, “It’s easy enough to see Trump as a ringleader of a mad circus, traipsing across airport tarmacs and firing up voters in packed rallies with his signature squint and scowl. But as we ready ourselves for the second round of GOP debates this Wednesday night, it’s clear that the xenophobia at the core of Trump’s campaign is resonating, and his antics are already echoing beyond the campaign trail into both culture and policy.”

Check out America’s Voice pre-debate memo on key assessments of immigration politics and key questions for the 2016 fieldhttp://americasvoice.org/press_releases/key-immigration-facts-questions-ahead-of-gop-presidential-debate-2/