Across the Country, Latino & Immigrant Community Leaders Sound Off on This Week’s Rightward Shift in GOP Immigration Debate

Across the Country, Latino & Immigrant Community Leaders Sound Off on This Week’s Rightward Shift in GOP Immigration Debate

Entire 2016 GOP Field Publicly Embraces Mass Deportation, Activists Vow Latino Voters Won’t Forget How Candidates Gave In to #TrumpEffect

WASHINGTON –  Donald Trump changed the tone and tenor of the immigration debate this week with the release of his 'Deport Them All" immigration plan, and now nearly every Republican 2016er is channeling the extremist frontrunner, trying to outdo him. Jeb Bush’s ‘Act of Love’ has turned into dealing with ‘Anchor Babies,’ Scott Walker claims Trump stole his mass deportation plan, and Ben Carson wants to send ‘armed drones’ (aka missiles) to the border. Below are remarks by immigrant rights leaders from around the country:

Laura Martin, Deputy Director, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (Las Vegas, NV): "It's only August, and the presidential campaign has already reached a new low with so much anti-immigrant and anti-Latino rhetoric on the campaign trail. Unbelievably this week, we've heard talk of "anchor babies", changing the constitution to revoke people's citizenship, and even drone strikes in Arizona. Latino and immigrant voters have every right to be outraged, and we won't forget what we've heard from these candidates when its time to vote next year."


Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director, Florida Immigrant Coalition (Miami, FL): "The Republican Party has what they deserve with Donald Trump. That's their problem, not ours. Our problem is the criminalization of 11 million Americans. Sadly, by talking about border-first and "anchor babies," Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio are now allowing racism to be used in the pandering for votes. What happened to Bush's 'migration is an act of love' or Rubio's immigration reform plan?"  


Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director, Voces de la Frontera (Milwaukee, WI): “What we’ve seen this week is old-fashioned racist pandering, and Scott Walker should be ashamed of himself for trying to ride Trump’s coattails…His bigotry certainly doesn’t reflect the feelings of the vast majority of people here in Wisconsin, or anywhere else for that matter. These horrifying ideas deeply offend almost everybody, but especially Latinos. Since analysts predict that the winner of the Latino vote will win the White House in 2016, at least now we know that Scott Walker won’t be President.”


Alma Hernandez, Board Member, Action North Carolina (Charlotte, NC): “This week has shown that the GOP is out of step with American voters. Poll after poll has shown that the majority of Americans support some type of legal status for the 11 million undocumented immigrants and their families currently living in our country. Donald Trump has initiated a trend that will lead to certain defeat for him and the other candidates that follow his lead. What America needs are solutions based in reality, not in xenophobic fantasies. The Latino community showed our power in the 2012 presidential elections and in the 2014 midterms. We have a long memory and will vote our values again in 2016.” 


Jon Liss, Co-Director, New Virginia Majority (Richmond, VA): "Donald Trump's plans and comments are a flashback to a bygone era. As a country we have progressed beyond his anti-immigrant rhetoric, but clearly Mr. Trump has failed to evolve with the majority of American society. We will stand united against his and the other candidates' derogatory comments against the Latino and immigrant communities, including new attacks on birth-right citizenship - a guaranteed constitutional right."


Frank Barragan, Organizer, Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (Mobile, AL): “Trump’s immigration plan isn't just unrealistic, but offensive to immigrants and Latinos around Alabama. What’s worse is that other candidates seem to be following him with more and more anti-immigrant positions. As Donald Trump arrives in Mobile tomorrow night for a rally, we hope he takes the time to listen to our community’s concerns and understand that Latinos and immigrants contribute so much to our state.”  


Angelica Salas, Executive Director, CHIRLA Action Fund (Los Angeles, CA): “We are a far better America than the one Donald Trump and the GOP presidential candidate line up proposes we become. The rights and values imbedded in the 14th amendment, including birthright citizenship and equal representation, resonate today even more than ever…When others in the GOP align themselves with the Trump hate rhetoric, they demonstrate an unwillingness to reason and a direct desire to tread on our nation's past, present, and future, values, and purpose.”


Rich Stolz, Executive Director, OneAmerica (Seattle, WA): “Donald Trump’s immigration statements on the campaign trail are good fodder for reality television but can hardly be called Presidential… The 2012 election showed the importance of immigrant communities to winning a national election, and these voters – and the growing Hispanic and Asian American electorate – will remember these attacks on our nation’s character when it comes time to vote in 2016.  Trump – and other Presidential candidates – should remember the contributions made by immigrants and their families – regardless of their status – every day, and resist the lowest common denominator in race-baiting politics.”


CONTACT: Kyle Tharp, (865) 776-9645