Texas GOP Continuing Trump’s Real Immigration Legacy – Dangerous Cruelty & Chaos and Wasteful Failures that Harm Texas and the U.S. Economy
Washington, DC – Donald Trump is headed to South Texas for a Saturday rally in support of GOP candidates.
- We can expect a barrage of vile “invasion” rhetoric and nativist falsehoods, despite the proven bodycount that mainstreaming such conspiracies in Texas has already had in the deadly attacks in El Paso and the recent migrant shootings in West Texas.
- We also can expect an attempt to whitewash and sanitize Trump’s immigration record – remember, not only was the Trump and Stephen Miller approach cruel and chaotic, but it was also an abject and harmful failure.
Also expected to appear at Trump’s rally are leading Texas GOP nativists and prominent anti-immigrant leaders, including Texas anti-immigrant ringleaders Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas AG Ken Paxton; former Acting ICE Director Tom Homan, who kicked off the GOP “Biden’s open borders” lies by appearing on Fox News in August 2020 to blame Biden for a 40% increase in border crossings occurring five months before Trump left office; and Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council and a leading peddler of white nationalist falsehoods about the border.
Below, we present reminders of the real Trump immigration legacy and the Texas Republicans who unabashedly embrace his failed approach. Led by his nativist ringleader Stephen Miller, the Trump administration waged a relentless war on immigrants and refugees, delivering steep declines in legal immigration (including refugees), but little progress in promoting order, control or legality at the border. Their hundreds of anti-immigrant lowlights include:
- Seeking to end DACA and subject Dreamers to deportation – hostility that the GOP continues to this day, led by the State of Texas..
- Kicking off their administration with the Muslim ban – an overt policy articulation of their white nationalist worldview.
- Using the cover of COVID to implement a draconian ban on asylum known as Title 42 and implementing Remain in Mexico policies at the border to end asylum as we know it, which has inflicted violence on those seeking safety and spikes in irregular migration;
- Overseeing family separations, ripping kids from the arms of their parents, knowing full well that no tracking system was in place and knowing full well that incalculable trauma would result, with no remorse nor a plan to put families back together.
- Building a $15 billion border wall that can be cut through with a $15 dollar hand saw and that has been breached more than 3,000 times over the past three years. The border wall remains the perfect encapsulation of Trump’s presidency and the Trump-ified Republican Party – broken, corrupt, offensive and ineffective.
The Trump/Miller record not only was cruel, but a harmful failure – judged both by the misplaced metrics of border apprehensions and the larger perspective of U.S. economic and demographic needs. As Stuart Anderson, a former key Republican advisor, recently wrote in Forbes:
- “During the Trump administration, between FY 2016 and FY 2019, apprehensions at the Southwest border (a proxy for illegal entry) increased from 408,870 to 851,508—a rise of more than 100 percent. While the Covid-19 pandemic caused apprehensions to decline for several months starting in March 2020, by August and September 2020, apprehensions had resumed at the approximate level of illegal entry seen during the same months in FY 2019. In short, Donald Trump’s policies failed to reduce illegal immigration and were enacted at a great human cost, particularly for parents and children separated at the border.”
- Meanwhile, the Trump/Miller nativist toll included harm to our economy: “In 2021 and 2022, America saw the negative results of Trump’s immigration policies, with an estimated 2 million immigrant workers missing from the U.S. labor force blamed for reducing U.S. economic output and contributing to inflation. Another four years of similar policies would likely produce more negative results, potentially longer term, if enacted by legislation.”
Texas has already felt the impact that white nationalist talking points inflict on their state, as the GOP has mainstreamed vile and deadly conspiracies despite the proven dangers 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.
- Republicans in Texas and across the Southwest are being driven to ramp up the false “invasion” theme by former Trump officials, including Tom Homan and Ken Cuccinelli, two Trump appointees. Counties in Texas have declared “invasions,” Gov. Greg Abbott has adopted the term, and candidates in Arizona are running on their pledge to declare invasions where there are none. The violence implied by the term invasion will continue to have deadly downstream consequences as long as the GOP amplifies this rhetoric.
- The further false claim that fentanyl is pouring across the border to kill Americans, adopted by Trump and GOP leaders and candidates nationwide, is intentionally a call to arms because it makes migration a matter of life and death for listeners who believe the GOP narrative. As America’s Voice and others have made clear, fentanyl is a serious issue, but not a migration issue, yet injecting fentanyl dangers into their anti-immigration attacks is almost universal in the Republican Party.
According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
“From the moment Trump descended the golden escalator in 2015 to kick off his presidential campaign by calling Mexicans “rapists” and “criminals,” he’s taken the Republican Party and our democracy on a long, horrifying descent. Immigration is the original sin of Trumpism and the animating throughline during Trump’s four chaotic years in office. Even his attacks on American democracy, which drove the January 6 Capitol riot, were at their core about the country being “taken over” by people who are illegitimate as voters or participants in American society.
Trump’s immigration record wasn’t just cruel and dehumanizing, but also a harmful set of failures that not only hurt immigrant communities but the country as a whole. Now, in Texas, the state leaders that are set to appear with him on Saturday are continuing this infamous legacy.
It adds up to a sad reflection of the modern Republican Party and their priorities – politics instead of solutions; dangerous conspiracies and lies despite the proven body count; and exclusionary nativism over multiracial democracy no matter the costs and consequences.”