tags: , , Press Releases

Pre-Debate Cheat Sheet – If Donald Trump Says the Following on Immigration…

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If Trump highlights his deportation plans:

  • The Trump team is making clear that everyone is targeted, “no one is off the table,” and that includes Dreamers and other long-settled immigrants, in addition to recent arrivals. See this AV memo for more on the consequences of mass deportation)
  • The Trump vision would tear apart communities and involve deploying red state National Guard troops in blue-state cities and communities throughout America and mass detention camps run by the military.
  • Mass deportation would be economically catastrophic, destroying vital American industries, skyrocketing inflation, and evicting millions of homeowners, entrepreneurs, essential workers, healthcare providers, and teachers (read this Washington Monthly deep-dive on the economic toll)

If Trump attacks Biden for granting “mass amnesty”:

  • Trump is referring to the Biden administration’s actions to allow law-abiding spouses of U.S. citizens and Dreamer college graduates new opportunities to adjust their status.  
  • It is these American families that the Trump plan would seek to separate through the mass deportation agenda.  

If Trump promises to “fix” immigration in his second term:

  • Trump’s first term plan was a failure. He dismantled our immigration system, which has led to where we are today. His current plan is radical in its sweep and scope and would be catastrophic for all Americans, not just immigrants. 
  • Read the Niskanen Center’s assessment of Project 2025 and immigration, which includes proposals to block federal financial aid for “up to two-thirds of all American college students” if their state permits Dreamers to access in-state tuition, repealing TPS and terminating DACA status for Dreamers by “eliminating staff time for reviewing and processing renewal applications,” and eviscerating legal immigration by suspending application intakes

If Trump claims the border was “secure” during his first term:

  • Point to the fact that throughout 2019 under Trump border encounters were the highest in more than a decade, spiking to about triple the totals of when he took office. And in December 2020 – in Trump’s final full month as president – border encounters were at the highest level for a December in more than two decades and had been rising for months. 
  • Global migration is complicated and border numbers – under Trump and under Biden – remind us why we need a full immigration overhaul from Congress to address 21st century migration, but that Trump and Republicans keep blocking a legislative fix. 

If Trump tries to whitewash other parts of his first-term immigration record: 

If Trump highlights the tragic killings of  by immigrants:

  • Any murder is a tragedy and any perpetrator should be held accountable to the full extent of the law
  • It’s also true that Donald Trump and allies are using isolated tragedies for attempted political gain in a manner that seeks to stir hate and fear. They should be asked why they are using strategic racism.
  • It’s an ugly tactic with a sordid history designed to advance a narrative that migrants and asylum seekers are dangerous threats when the facts demonstrate otherwise (in study after study, and study, and study, and more study, the facts are clear: immigrants have lower crime rates than the rest of the population)

If Trump claims immigrants are responsible for the fentanyl crisis:

  • The opioid crisis is inflicting a devastating blow to our families and communities. We need real solutions to address this problem, not scapegoating immigrants and asylum seekers. The fentanyl crisis is a public health crisis and needs a public health solution.
  • Illicit fentanyl is predominantly brought in by U.S. citizens for U.S. citizen consumption and is smuggled in alongside commercial traffic. 
  • We need urgent solutions and to continue to upgrade scanning technology and resources, not nativist scapegoating that blames immigrants.  

If Trump claims an immigration “invasion” or that immigrants are “replacing” white Americans conspiracy theory: 

  • He should answer why he and allies are mainstreaming and platforming dangerous conspiracies that have been echoed in mass shootings by domestic terrorists in El Paso, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and elsewhere.
  • According to AV analysis of AdImpact data, Republican-aligned campaigns have spent more than $200M on ads with negative immigration mentions so far this year – more than twice as much as 2022 and 20 times as much as 2020 over the same period.
  • At least $20M has been spent on 83 unique ads that peddle the white nationalist “invasion” rhetoric. 

If Trump advances the lie about non-citizen voting or uses immigration to sow doubts about election integrity: 

  • Highlight how Trump and his allies are using immigration lies and conspiracies to undermine confidence in American democracy.  
  • We all care about election integrity and support efforts to ensure our elections are safe and secure. Studies show that non-citizens illegally voting is not an issue and protections are in place to ensure it won’t become a problem. 
  • Advancing this lie is a political attack that seeks to fuel election deniers and encourages another violent Jan. 6-style attack on our democracy. Instead of focusing on the real challenges that affect all working families, some politicians would rather spread lies about immigrants to undermine trust in our elections. 
  • Read this recent Univision op-ed from Vanessa Cárdenas, “How Trump’s relentless anti-immigrant focus is tied to his threats to democracy

If Trump claims Biden is putting “illegals” ahead of Americans: