Washington, DC – Ahead of Donald Trump’s Saturday rally in South Texas, yesterday we highlighted reminders about Trump’s real immigration record and the larger context of what to expect.
Today, we offer three key questions for Texas Republican candidates, especially those featured in the America’s Voice bilingual, “Show Me Your Friends” campaign (Monica De La Cruz (TX-15), Rep. Mayra Flores (TX-34), Cassy Garcia (TX-28) and Tony Gonzales (TX-23)). Each should go on the record to clarify or define their support of Donald Trump and his nativist worldview; describe their thoughts on their GOP colleagues (and campaign benefactors) mainstreaming the same type of white nationalist rhetoric that has proven deadly in Texas; and define their position toward DACA and a legislative solution for Dreamers – including their potential support for Kevin McCarthy, who has vowed no solution for Dreamers. If they fail to do so, we respectfully ask reporters to either push them for answers or to note their silence.
Question 1: Regarding Donald Trump, do you support his rhetoric about immigrants, Hispanics and Mexicans? Are there any parts of his policy and rhetorical record you disagree with?
- From kicking off his presidential campaign by calling Mexicans “rapists” and “criminals,” to his infamous “shithole countries” worldview to his recent rally statement that “we’re being invaded. No different than an Army of soldiers pouring across. These are an Army of many, many criminals…” Donald Trump’s use of anti-immigrant and anti-Hispanic language has helped mainstream vile conspiracies and ugly racism.
- Meanwhile, Trump’s real immigration record was not just cruel and chaotic, but also an abject and harmful failure to Texas and the nation.
Question 2: Why are you silent in the face of GOP colleagues who are promoting the same type of white nationalist rhetoric that inspired so much deadly violence in Texas?
- Texas Republicans’ growing embrace of dehumanizing lies and nativist conspiracies about “invasion” and “replacement” have led to deadly violence in the state. From mass murder in El Paso to the recent migrant shootings in West Texas, the dangers of this rhetoric have not stopped Texas Republicans from mainstreaming the same conspiracies that have led to violence.
- The day before the El Paso massacre, Gov. Greg Abbott sent a fundraising letter that stated, “If we’re going to DEFEND Texas, we’ll need to take matters into our own hands.” Following the El Paso killings, Abbott pledged to be more responsible in his rhetoric, noting at the time: “I emphasize the importance of making sure that rhetoric will not be used in any dangerous way.” Yet three years later, Gov. Abbott and other Texas Republicans have ignored his post-El Paso pledge and resumed their relentless use of dehumanization of immigrants and embrace of dangerous language to do so.
Question 3: GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy says “no way” on legalizing Dreamers. Will you oppose or support Kevin McCarthy as your House Leader?
- Texas Republicans are leading the charge against DACA and Dreamers, with Trump rally attendee speaker Texas AG Ken Paxton driving Texas as the lead legal challenger in the Fifth Circuit ruling against DACA, which threatens to totally kill DACA in the several weeks or months and make more than 600,000 Dreamers (including more than 100,000 in Texas) unemployable and deportable.
- This hostility to Dreamers is despite the reality that DACA has been incredibly popular and successful. As a reminder, Texas voters overwhelmingly support DACA and Dreamers. A recent poll from the Dallas Morning News/UT Tyler shows that while public sentiment on border security questions is largely divided along partisan lines, protections for Dreamers is broadly popular among Texas voters, with 61-27% support overall for Dreamers’ legal status, with even Republican likely voters supporting by a 48-40% margin.
- This week, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reiterated his opposition to a Dreamer legislative fix under a GOP-controlled House. Do you agree with Rep. McCarthy and would you oppose a legislative solution for Dreamers? If you support Dreamers, would you still vote to support McCarthy for Speaker?
In addition to the Texas Republicans who are part of the America’s Voice bilingual campaign, “Show Me Your Friends,” today America’s Voice added four additional Latino candidates in battleground races to the campaign: Lori Chavez-DeRemer (OR-05), Yesli Vega (VA-07), Carlos Giménez (FL-28) and Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27). The campaign is asking the featured candidates to refute, reject and denounce the extremism of those in their party who promote extremism and dangerous lies.
According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Voters in South Texas deserve better than dangerous nativist fear-mongering and disinformation coming from Donald Trump, Republican leaders and Super-PAC benefactors. And they deserve more than silence from their local candidates in the face of vile white nationalism on display.
Texas Republicans, especially those with large Latino or immigrant constituencies, cannot have it both ways; on the one hand claiming they are making real appeals and inroads to Hispanic voters while also supporting or excusing Donald Trump and many of their GOP colleagues in using the language of domestic terrorists who murdered dozens to stop a so-called “Hispanic invasion.”
Meanwhile, in the face of the threats to Dreamers in Texas – and the state GOP’s role in threatening DACA – no candidate should get away without really declaring for voters their support or opposition to protections for DACA and Dreamers.
The stakes are too high and the dangers too great to accept evasive non-answers or pretend that silence is not complicity.