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Week in Review on Immigration

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Democrats Lean In; Rational Republicans Marginalized; and Trump’s Bigotry Continues to Define the Republican Party (and Soon NBC, Too)

Washington, DC – It’s been another busy week in the world of immigration.  Here are our three main takeaways:

Democrats Continue to Lean In on Immigration: The week kicked off with the first Democratic Primary debate, which did more to highlight the stark contrast between the parties on immigration than it did between the candidates.  All the major candidates expressed their support for comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship and issued a strong rebuke to the hateful, racist rhetoric coming from the GOP.  Following the momentum from the Democratic debate, Hilary Clinton closed out the week by taking the conversation one step further, reaffirming her commitment to keep families together and expand upon the President’s executive actions.  As  she said at a question-and-answer session with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber, “I will not be breaking up families under deportation…I don’t think that the way to do that is to undermine the family structure, and undermine the productivity of people who are (contributing) to our economy.”  Referring to the anti-immigrant vitriol heard from Republicans, she added, “The harsh inflammatory language coming from Republicans on Hispanics has just added to ongoing problem [of racial injustice], that it’s OK in America to condemn people with this kind of rhetoric, which opens the door for those who then feel free to speak in pejorative terms and act in a way that is prejudiced and hurtful.”

No More Room for GOP Moderates on Immigration: As the intra-GOP fight over the next House speaker continues,new reports today suggest that even the Party’s most popular candidates can’t get past their own anti-immigrant extremists.  Per reporting from Seung Min Kim of Politico, “Paul Ryan is still reluctantly mulling a bid for speaker. But his adversaries on the far right want to discredit his campaign before it even begins — and they’re using Ryan’s extensive pro-immigration record as their key weapon. From his days battling a restrictive California immigration ballot measure in the early 1990s, to his quiet efforts the past two years to help build GOP consensus for immigration reform, Ryan has a lengthy history of pushing for an overhaul that runs counter to the most conservative wings of his own party. There will be a ‘major intraparty battle over immigration if Paul comes forward,’ predicted Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), a well-known immigration hard-liner, in an interview this week. ‘And a majority of the conference is on my side of this argument.’”

Trump Still Defining the Republican Party on Immigration: A blast of news stories this week continue to solidify Donald Trump’s position as the anti-immigrant tail wagging the GOP dog.  At a campaign stop in New Hampshire, Trump questioned the background of an Asian American Harvard student, asking where he was from and challenging his citizenship.  This falls in the wake of attacks from his own supporters who were caught on camera this week, spitting on immigrant advocates and verbally assaulting them (see all the anti-immigrant and anti-Latino incidences tied to Trump on our “Trump Hate Map”).  This probably explains why a growing chorus of Latino voices and immigration supporters is calling on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL) to remove Donald Trump from his scheduled hosting duties on November 7th.  As a reminder, NBC claimed to cut ties with Donald Trump over his insulting remarks about Mexican immigrants – an offense to every Latino in the United States—earlier this year.  By providing him this new platform, SNL is mainstreaming Trump’s racism.  That doesn’t sound funny to us.