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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, LULAC National Executive Director Brent Wilkes penned an op-ed in The Hill focusing on Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump’s immigration policy speech, where Trump continued to advocate for his proposal to build a wall and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Trump’s Recycled Rhetoric Builds Wall of Mistrust with Voters
Fervently declaring “we will build a great wall along the southern border,” Trump kicked off his immigration speech Wednesday in Arizona during which he outlined his plan which continues to ignore the complexities currently facing the U.S. immigration system. Among a litany of unrealistic proposals, Trump called for the deportation of DACA recipients and DREAMer students, even though DACA recipients are currently protected from deportation under President Obama’s 2014 executive actions on immigration. In addition, Trump stated that there will be no legal status for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently residing in the country unless they leave and apply for re-entry.
Trump vowed to establish a “deportation force” to institute the mass deportation of undocumented people presently living in the United States. The Republican nominee also mentioned that immigrants would go through “extreme vetting,” an ambiguous idea that includes subjecting individuals to an ideological litmus test.
Trump has made clear his policy positions on immigration from the primary season through the Republican National Convention. Wednesday’s immigration speech was more of the same anti-immigrant rhetoric. His immigration speech was a hateful, anti-immigrant set of policies aligned perfectly with the centerpiece of his campaign, which has always been simple and straightforward – immigrants are not welcome in Trump’s America.
One need only look at a few of Trump’s ignorant and racist comments to understand how he could propose such abhorrent immigration policies. He launched his campaign with an anti-immigrant tirade which included his now infamous allegation that Mexican immigrants are rapists and criminals. He regularly argues all Muslims should be viewed as potential terrorists until they can prove otherwise. Based on this skewed logic, he proposed an unprecedented and unconstitutional religious ban on immigration, which was roundly criticized by Democrats and Republicans alike. And finally, he ridiculed a federal district court judge because of his Mexican heritage, which House Speaker and fellow Republican Paul Ryan, called “the textbook definition of a racist comment.”
Trump’s strategy and goal is obvious, he does not believe he needs the Latino vote to win the White House and his immigration speech was his attempt to seal the support of his disconnected, anti-immigrant base. While he may have successfully solidified the support of his base, Trump’s unapologetic xenophobic and racist rhetoric have destroyed any possibility of support from Latino voters and for that matter, all fair minded Americans. Trump will soon learn that the only wall he has succeeded in building is a wall of mistrust between him and the voters.