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America’s Voice Election 2020 Weekly Digest #13

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Each Friday through Election Day, we disseminate this memo highlighting the key 2020 developments at the intersection of electoral politics and immigration

Key Immigration Politics Stories

Presidential Debate: On Immigration, the Contrast Could Not Be Clearer:

  • Donald Trump engaged in a toxic mix of lies, blame-shifting, xenophobia, and fear-mongering. He showed no remorse for the intentional policy of ripping families apart, said the kids are “well taken care of,” and called those who show up for court hearings “low IQ.”
  • Joe Biden denounced Trump’s family separation policy as “criminal,” reiterated his commitment to deliver overdue citizenship for undocumented immigrants starting with Dreamers, and admitted that Obama’s deportation record was “a mistake.” 
  • AV Executive Director Frank Sharry: “Let’s not mince words. On the immigration section of last night’s debate, Biden kicked Trump’s ass. Biden took a stand for an optimistic, decent and welcoming America. Trump lied, blustered and demeaned ‘the non-white other.’ Biden spoke American. Trump spoke white nationalism. Biden said we’re better than this. Trump said you all are as evil as me. Four years ago, many credited Trump’s nativism and xenophobia for his upset victory. Four years later, many should credit Trump’s nativism and xenophobia for the defeat he is about to suffer.”

Americans are more pro-immigrant since Trump took office

  • Catherine Rampell wrote an important column this week titled, “Trump has shifted the country to the left — or at least away from his own views,” underscoring a point that we have been making: Trump’s relentless racism, nativism and divisiveness has forced a referendum on immigrants and immigration – and Americans have chosen to side with immigrants. Rampell writes:
    • “Nearly eight in 10 Americans (77 percent) now think immigration is good for the country, the highest share since Gallup began asking this question two decades ago…”
    • “…Polling from Pew Research Center has found that Americans have become more likely to say that immigration strengthens rather than burdens the country, even as Trump blockades immigrants on the grounds that they drain the economy and corrupt our culture.”
  • Underscoring Rampell’s point, this week’s release of PRRI’s annual, large-sample “American Values Survey” poll finds 80-19% support for legal status for undocumented immigrants, includes 64% for citizenship, and strong opposition to Trump policies on Dreamers, family separation, refugee admissions, and the border wall.
  • AV Director of Communications Douglas Rivlin said: “Election after election and poll after poll the same thing: Americans increasingly reject Trump’s racism and xenophobia. While nativism may play well in the cul-de-sac of Trump’s core supporters, strong majorities of the American people are pro-immigrant and increasingly so. This is why Trump’s immigrant-bashing is costing him and fellow Republicans more support than it attracts, up and down the ticket.”

The “Cornyn Con” is now laced with cowardice – more lies regarding support for Trump’s raid of military budgets to build border wall

  • John Cornyn stood up to Trump, the senator now says. In private. Yeah, right. The distance between what Senator John Cornyn says and how he votes has a name in beltway circles. It’s called the “Cornyn Con.”
  • In an editorial board interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Senator Cornyn portrayed himself as an opponent – in private – of President Trump’s raid of billions of dollars appropriated by Congress for the military that Trump seized and put toward the border wall using the phony pretext of a national emergency declaration. 
  • The record strongly suggests otherwise. In September 2019, 12 Senate Republicans voted against Trump‘s emergency declaration, but Senator Cornyn was not among them. Instead, he sided with Trump and voted against the joint resolution. Cornyn also delivered a series of public statements in support of Trump’s wall money grab (see here). The impact back home? The Texas Tribune reported, “about $265 million for construction and other projects on military bases in Texas could be diverted to build walls on the southern border.”

Racist Campaign Ad of the Week (from our searchable website, 2020 Ad Watch)

  • MI-03: The NRCC is out with an anti-immigrant attack ad on Democrat Hillary Scholte, an immigration attorney, saying she demanded “sanctuary cities and open borders…distributed a how-to guide on evading ICE…protecting an actual criminal, a drug pusher here illegally.”