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National Leaders Respond: How Is Trump’s Latino and African American Outreach Going?

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Following Donald Trump’s immigration focused town hall with Sean Hannity this week and purported campaign decision to re-engage with African American and Latino voters, some of the nation’s leading immigration advocates and experts along with leading civil rights voices gave their take on how his new campaign strategy is working.

For a recording of today’s call, click here

Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), said “The Republican Party will remain locked out of the White House until they adopt a better approach to immigration reform and a better approach to immigrant and Latino voters. They did not allow the immigration issue to get resolved legislatively during the last four years, and they are paying that price for that electorally. And Donald Trump’s new tone on immigration, the new emphasis on Latino and Black outreach and trying not to say outrageously racist and inappropriate things, is an appeal to that cohort of white voters who are in the middle but can’t see themselves voting for a racist buffoon. I don’t think it is going to work very well with those voters or anyone else.  The American people have seen a lot of Donald Trump and the Republican Party and the ultra-right and the anti-immigration side of the debate and the last three months will not – and should not – change minds on who Donald Trump really is.”

Ben Jealous, Former President and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said “Donald Trump is dancing around on race and immigration, because his racism and xenophobia is threatening to trump the GOP’s chances to hold on to the Senate let alone take back the White House. This election will prove to be a referendum – if a wave of racist, xenophobic, and unlikely voters turn out, than Ann Coulter and Breitbart win the argument. But if the election goes the way we predict it will and Trump is defeated than the whole country will be affirmed that we are moving forward, together.”

Angela Kelley, Executive Director, Center for American Progress Action Fund,said “Let’s be clear: Donald Trump doesn’t have a real immigration policy beyond enforcement. Here’s what we do know from the man whose middle name is ‘deportation’: he’s against a path to citizenship, he wants to build a wall that’s 40 feet tall, deport those who have overstayed their visa – 40% of the undocumented population – he wants to rescind DACA and DAPA and end birthright citizenship. It’s clear that Mr. Trump isn’t softening or changing his so-called policy. It’s just a change of words to blow smoke on an issue where he firmly stands on the wrong side of history.”

Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice, said “The fact that Trump feels compelled to try to cleanse himself of the stench of racism that has been a feature, not a bug, of his campaign shows that he and his team recognize that they’ve painted themselves into an unpopular corner. Across party lines, American’s support immigration reform with a path to citizenship for the millions of undocumented Americans. With respect to Trump’s immigration talk, so far we’ve only seen a slight rhetorical shift from his campaign, not a policy shift. If Trump does detail a new immigration approach to provide undocumented immigrants with a path to legal status, the three questions that he needs to answer positively are: 1) will legalization be a central part of a legislative reform package? 2) Will the vast majority of undocumented immigrants who are ‘low priority’ be eligible for legalization? and 3) will legalization be available immediately, rather than years down the road after more ramped up enforcement?”

For a recording of today’s call, click here.