Vanessa Cárdenas: “The Biden campaign has the chance to draw sharp contrasts between two visions for citizenship, immigration, asylum, and refugees in the 21st century and re-engage the strong majority of voters … who prefer solutions and a balanced approach to immigration over Trump’s scorched-earth nativism and MAGA extremism.”
Washington, DC – Donald Trump’s escalating threats, rhetoric, and immigration policy pledges would threaten both immigrant communities and the wider nation and fabric of our democracy, as progressive leaders voiced in a recent press event. Given the stakes and implications – and in light of concerns about President Biden and Democrats’ support from voters of color – the Biden campaign and Democrats have an opportunity to highlight Trump’s extremism and define their own vision on citizenship, democracy, inclusion, and immigration in the process as several new articles and analyses make clear (see below for relevant commentary in Mother Jones and in Ron Brownstein’s latest CNN column).
According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
“Donald Trump’s threats and policies on immigration should he be reelected go beyond the cruelty, chaos, and damage of his first term. What’s at stake is not only a clear threat to immigrant communities but the country at large, including our democracy, the rule of law, and our economy. In the face of these dangers, the Biden campaign has the chance to draw sharp contrasts between two visions for citizenship, immigration, asylum, and refugees in the 21st century and re-engage the strong majority of voters – particularly Latinos, women, younger voters, African American voters, and progressives – who prefer solutions and a balanced approach to immigration over Trump’s scorched-earth nativism and MAGA extremism.
But in order to reinforce the sharp contrasts and exploit the extremism of the opposition, the President and Democrats must deliver what they can while they control the presidency. This includes continuing to use all of his available executive powers to protect long-term immigrants, make the border more orderly, streamline the process that gets immigrants into the legal workforce, protect Dreamers made deportable if/when DACA is ended in the courts, and keep leaning in for administrative progress and legislative solutions that Republicans are blocking. They must fight for policies to improve our immigration system that both serve our interests and are consistent with our values and, in the process, send a political signal to voters that their vision and action moves the nation forward and helps grow our economy.”
As Isabela Dias writes in Mother Jones, “Trump’s Immigration Plan Is a New Level of Extreme. It Also Gives Biden an Opportunity to Do Better”:
“Instead of brushing immigration to the wayside as a campaign issue, there’s a growing chorus for Biden to embrace it. Indeed, some political strategists believe the current moment presents an opportunity for the president to come out on top and win over a critical segment of the electorate. “Biden’s poor numbers on immigration and with Latino voters aren’t a coincidence,” Sawyer Hackett, a Democratic strategist and consultant, said on X. “Yes, like all voters, Latinos don’t vote on immigration alone. But in cycles when the immigration contrast has been front-and-center, Democrats have done extremely well. Ceding political ground on this issue is terrible politics and terrible for the human lives involved.”
Especially as Trump becomes increasingly strident … Will Trump and Miller’s anti-immigration agenda also create an opening for the Biden campaign to take the offensive on this issue? CBS News recently reported that the campaign has plans to ‘bring attention’ to Trump’s extreme proposals in hopes of turning potential Latino voters away from the GOP candidate, who is polling well with that demographic.”
Ron Brownstein’s latest CNN column, “This May Be Biden’s Best Hope of Reversing his Slide with Black and Brown Voters,” explores the Biden campaign effort to re-engage Black and brown voters, including the ways highlighting Trump’s extremism on immigration and beyond can help draw essential contrasts. Brownstein notes:
“Analysts like [Equis Research vice president Carlos] Odio believe one reason Trump improved among Latinos in 2020 was that he downplayed the harsh language about immigration he used in 2016 and instead emphasized his economic agenda. But Trump has again moved sharply to the right on immigration, pledging mass deportations, internment camps for migrants, the end of birthright citizenship, and military action against Mexico to fight drug cartels. He’s also refused to rule out reinstating his policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border.
Latinos in the key states may not yet be aware of Trump’s immigration plans. But Robert P. Jones, president and founder of PRRI, said the group’s polling convinces him that Trump’s agenda on immigration and other cultural issues will ultimately repel some Latino voters otherwise disenchanted with Biden on the economy. ‘I think we will not know the truth about how much they [Republicans] are overplaying their hand until next summer’ if Trump becomes the GOP nominee.”