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America’s Voice Election 2020 Weekly Digest #10

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NOTE: Of course the news of President Trump, Melania Trump and Hope Hicks testing positive for COVID-19 is the big story right now. But immigration developments never seem to stop. We summarize them and their political implications below. 

Key Immigration Politics Stories

  1. Trump reaches for political comfort food: Trump has returned to his go-to strategy of stoking racial fear, invoking xenophobia and provoking violence. It didn’t work in 2018, and we predict it won’t work in 2020. Americans are fed up with the divisiveness and hate and will again reject it.
  2. Trump and Stephen Miller take a wrecking ball to the Statue of Liberty: Trump announced record-low refugee admission levels for FY21. he denounced Biden’s plan to renew the refugee resettlement program; and once again, Trump viciously attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar in Minnesota.
  3. It’s true, Trump’s undocumented workers paid more in taxes than he did: a brave group of undocumented workers who were exploited and discarded by the Trump Organization bring the receipts and prove they paid more in tax than the president.

Trump reaches for political comfort food – stoking racial fear, invoking xenophobia and provoking violence. It didn’t work in 2018; it won’t work in 2020. 

  • At the first debate, Trump openly signaled the Proud Boys, a violent White supremacist group, to “stand back and stand by,” a call to action that is chilling given the mass killings in Pittsburgh and El Paso that many believe were inspired by Trump’s rhetoric.
  • A purposeful leak to the Washington Post about ICE Operations in Democratic cities that limit cooperation with deportation raids suggests that ICE agents will be arresting immigrants in these locations. According to the story, “Two officials with knowledge of plans for the ‘sanctuary op’ described it as more of a political messaging campaign than a major ICE operation.” In addition, “60 Minutes” ran a story on the border wall that featured bombshell revelations: Trump and Jared Kushner “pressured” government officials to direct billions in wall contracts to a donor and crony; that crony, Tommy Fisher, built faulty sections of the privately-funded border wall for the fraudulent project headed by Steve Bannon and the wall is expected to fall into the Rio Grande river soon.
  • Yes, the strategy is ugly, but no, it won’t work. Frank Sharry: “Most Americans reject the divisiveness and hate that have become the central tenet of Trump’s campaign and Trump’s GOP. That is why in 2018, when Trump reached for racism and xenophobia, it backfired, and Republicans suffered the biggest midterm drubbing in American history. That is why in 2020, as Trump and GOP candidates reach for racism and xenophobia, we predict it will backfire again. That is because the majority of us reject an America based on blood and soil in favor of an America based on E pluribus unum, Out of Many, One.” 

Trump and Stephen Miller take a wrecking ball to the Statue of Liberty.

  • At a Duluth, MN rally on Wednesday, Trump said, “Biden will turn Minnesota into a refugee camp … It’s a disgrace what they’ve done to your state.” Once again, he mounted ugly attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar – an American success story – stating in Duluth, “she tells us how to run our country!” Directly related to his ugly anti-refugee screeds, the Trump administration this week proposed the U.S. admit a record-low number of refugee admissions for FY 2021 – 15,000 total, which would be 3,000 lower than FY 2020.
  • The New York Times ran a front-page story on this ugly turn in Trump’s strategy, titled, Trump Virtually Cuts Off Refugees as He Unleashes a Tirade on Immigrants.
  • Frank Sharry: “This..noble tradition..is being trashed by an administration driven by dark motives and white grievance. Trump, Miller and their accomplices may get away with their evil deeds for four years, but they will pay the price. Their cruelty has forced Americans to think about refugees and immigrants more seriously than they might have, and a strong majority have come down in favor of the American tradition of welcome, not the Trumpian embrace of racism.”

Trump’s undocumented workers paid more in taxes than he did.

  • After the NY Times story on Trump’s taxes broke, the formerly undocumented Trump Bedminister worker Sandra Diaz  tweeted out a picture of her W2 from her years working at the property and wrote: “I paid more taxes in a month or two than he paid in a year.” 
  • The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) estimates in a 2017 report that undocumented immigrants pay $11.7 billion annually in taxes. 
  • See here for a recap of coverage of undocumented immigrants paying their fair share and Trump hiring, exploiting and discarding them while paying virtually no taxes. From Telemundo, New York Daily News, and Time magazine.

Racist Campaign Ads of the Week (from our newly remodeled site, 2020 Ad Watch)

  • Team Trump’s Anti-Refugee Ad Rejected by Facebook: The campaign is out with a Facebook ad campaign continuing its anti-refugee fear-mongering with a 30-sec video ad and a 15-sec video ad focusing again on Syria, Somalia, and Yemen. But these ads were too false and xenophobic even for Facebook. “We rejected these ads because we don’t allow claims that people’s physical safety, health, or survival is threatened by people on the basis of their national origin or immigration status,” a Facebook spokesperson said.   
  • Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler’s Ad: “Attack the Far-Left Again, Gather the Troops”: Sen. Kelly Loeffler is out with her third installment of her racist ad series comparing herself to Attila. In the latest ad, “Attila” calls to, “eliminate amnesty,” and as a soldier says, “attack the far-left again, gather the troops.” In the context of Trump’s refusal to condemn white nationalists on the debate stage and calls for racial civil war and domestic terrorism, this language is dangerous and inflammatory.