Trumpification of the Republican Party Reaches Turning Point

By Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Gage Skidmore

It has been a dreadful week on the issue of immigration. On Monday, Donald Trump released his long-awaited immigration “plan” which put his bigotry and hateful rhetoric into policy. His agenda of mass deportation, a massive wall, and the end of birthright citizenship hits many of the hallmarks of bad policy-making: completely impractical, prohibitively expensive, widely unpopular, doomed to fail, and deeply inconsistent with our values as a nation.

Yet once again—with a few exceptions, like Marco Rubio—the other Republican presidential candidates rushed to embrace Trump’s latest salvo: the proposed evisceration of the 14th amendment. Even Jeb Bush, who does not support ending birthright citizenship, echoed Trump’s use of the heinous and despicable term, “anchor babies.” Calling millions of U.S. citizens a term universally viewed as offensive by the Latino community does not bode well for Republican electoral prospects.

And the most disturbing incident of the week was the horrific beating of a Latino homeless man in Boston, who was innocently sleeping near a train station. The two brothers charged in the crime told police that their attack was motivated by their agreement with Donald Trump that “illegals have to go.”

Much of the responsibility for this attack lies at the feet of not only Trump, but of a Republican Party whose leadership has so far refused to publicly and unequivocally denounce Trump and his extreme rhetoric. Words have consequences, and hateful words lead to hateful actions. No one—especially not two intoxicated bullies—can tell a person’s immigration status by looking at them. This senseless attack was predicated on how this person looked. In other words, a summer of disparagement and demonization has put a target squarely on the backs of all 55 million Hispanics in this country.

When the election rolls around next November, there is no question in my mind that we will look back at this week as a turning point in the election. It will be known as the week when Trump’s dominance of both the campaign and the direction of the Republican Party on the immigration issue turned a dark and dangerous turn. It will be remembered as the week that Republicans not only started to lose the Latino vote, but also the election.

Republicans can only turn this around if the Party finds both its courage and its voice to say “enough is enough” to the demagoguery and bigotry of Trump and his ilk, and to the unconscionable demonization of an entire community that has now put millions of people in harm’s way. If not, Trump will succeed in getting his massive wall. It won’t be a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, but a permanent wall between the Republican Party and Latino voters.

This Week in Immigration Reform — Week Ending August 21

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Week Ended August 21

This week in immigration reform: We highlight new resources out this week; Migration Policy Institute releases a report on the most recent unauthorized immigration trends; The Pew Charitable Trusts examines states issuing driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants; The Center for American Progress determines how much it would cost to deport all 11.3 unauthorized individuals. NCLR kept the community informed with staff quoted in Politico, NBC News, CNN, and La Opinión.

Migration Policy Institute releases report on unauthorized immigration trends: This week, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) released a new report entitledAn Analysis of Unauthorized Immigrants in the United States by Country and Region of Birth.” The report, looking at unauthorized immigration as a whole, found that unauthorized immigrants have shown more diffuse settlement trends in the past decade, as 41 states now have a “significant” population of unauthorized immigrants. Mexico is still the largest originating nation with 6.1 million unauthorized immigrants, followed by Guatemala (704,000), El Salvador (436,000), and Honduras (317,000). However, the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico has only increased by 29 percent since 2000, down from 136 percent growth during the 1990’s. MPI also notes that over 80 percent of unauthorized immigrants originating from Mexico, El Salvador, and Honduras who were immediately eligible for DACA have applied for enrollment, which is attributed to strong outreach by consulates and extensive Spanish-language media and services. A new report looks at DACA’s economic benefit to Illinois and the critical role that service providers play in the success of the implementation of DACA.

Pew report looks at how states are handling driver’s licenses for unauthorized immigrants:  A new report released by The Pew Charitable Trusts examines the different policies and procedures of the ten states (plus the District of Columbia) that allow unauthorized immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses. In their report, Pew identifies four key areas for consideration for policymakers to decide whether and how to issue driver’s licenses to unauthorized immigrants: scope, eligibility standards, issuance procedures, and outreach and education. Pew also found that 37 percent of all unauthorized immigrants live in a state which allows them to obtain driver’s licenses.

The Center for American Progress puts price tag on deporting all unauthorized immigrants at $114 billion: Using an average cost of $10,070 per person, analysis by the Center for American Progress estimates that a mass deportation strategy for all 11.3 million unauthorized immigrants would be $114 billion. This includes costs to find each individual, detain individuals while waiting for removal, processing these individuals through the immigration courts, and transportation costs. Factoring in the cost to the overall economy, however, and that number swells to between $420 billion and $620 billion over the span, according to the American Action Fund (AAF).

The Bipartisan Policy Center calculates that deporting all 11.3 unauthorized immigrants would shrink the labor force by over 6 percent during those 20 years, and the AAF estimates that the US GDP would shrink by $1.6 trillion.

Ending Birthright Citizenship Is Not a Solution to Our Immigration Problem

Ending the Constitution’s protection of birthright citizenship is a solution to our immigration problem that our Senior Immigration Policy Analyst, Laura Vazquez, calls a “fantasy.” She joined MSNBC’s Jose Diaz-Balart this morning to talk about such proposals on The Morning Rundown.  

Watch her full interview below: