Supreme Court May Kill Obama’s Plan to Shield 5 Million Immigrants From Deportation

Supreme Court May Kill Obama's Plan to Shield 5 Million Immigrants From Deportation

Image Credit: Getty Images

POLICY.MIC

On Monday, a top lawyer from the Obama administration faced a tough line of questioning from Supreme Court justices over a case that could decide the fate of up to five million undocumented immigrants.

The case, which pits 26 states against the White House, contests the legality of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, program, which he announced through executive actions in 2014.

There’s a great deal at stake. The program would protect close to 5 million undocumented immigrants who are parents of United States citizens or permanent residents and provide them with the opportunity to apply for work permits, assuming they’ve resided in the country for a minimum of five years, pax taxes and don’t fail abackground check.

Read more: A Divided Supreme Court Spares Public Labor Unions From a Devastating Blow

The New York Times reported that Monday morning’s oral arguments involved some “sharp questions” from the justices:

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy questioned whether the president can defer deportations for millions of people without specific congressional authorization, saying “that is a legislative task, not an executive task.”

“It’s as if the president is defining the policy and the Congress is executing it,” Justice Kennedy said. “That’s just upside down.”

Supreme Court May Kill Obama's Plan to Shield 5 Million Immigrants From Deportation

Source: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

If the Supreme Court, which has had only eight justices since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February, ties on the ruling, it will uphold a lower court ruling against the plan and would obstruct the Obama administration’s ambitions.

The possibility of a ruling in favor of the Obama administration is possible. As Richard Lugar, a former senator from Indiana, noted in a New York Times op-ed on Monday, the executive branch has long been given a great deal of latitude in dealing with enforcement of immigration law, both by Congress and the Supreme Court:

Congress has repeatedlygranted the executive branch broad power in enforcing immigration laws. The 2002 law creating the Department of Homeland Security explicitly said the executive should set “national immigration enforcement policies and priorities.” The Supreme Court has recognized the leeway Congress gives the executive branch in deportations. In a 2012 majority opinion written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the court noted that “a principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials,” including the decision “whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all.”

Notably, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Anthony Kennedy joined three liberal justices in the last high-profile immigration case, striking down Arizona’s controversial immigration law in 2012.

The Supreme Court’s ruling isn’t expected until June, but the stakes are high — both for the undocumented immigrants whose lives would be changed by the ruling, and also for Obama’s legacy on immigration.

If the Supreme Court rules against the president, Obama, who has overseen more deportations than any other president in American history, will likely be remembered on immigration as “deporter-in-chief,” in the words of National Council of La Raza President Janet Murguia. But if the court rules in his favor, he will have achieved some redemption in the eyes of many advocates.

Zeeshan Aleem

Actually, Ted Cruz Does Want To Round Up Every Undocumented Immigrant

THE HUFFINGTON POST

Walls, border patrols and biometric scanners, oh my.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has taken a page from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign playbook, hardening his rhetoric against undocumented immigrants.

Cruz told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly on Monday that yes, should he be elected president, his administration would deport all 12 million undocumented people estimated to be in the U.S. and wouldn’t allow them to return.

“We should enforce the law … federal law requires that anyone here illegally that’s apprehended should be deported,” Cruz said. “Of course” he’d look for undocumented immigrants, he said.

Cruz said America would build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, triple the border force and establish biometric entry systems “so we will know the day someone overstays their visa.”

Cruz’ comments represent an escalation in rhetoric from a candidate who rejected the notion of a “deportation force” of “jackboots” just last month, and lambasted the idea after it was proposed by GOP front-runner Trump. Cruz in January said such a policy would reflect “a police state,” adding, “That’s not how we enforce the law for any crime.”

Cruz was pressed on the issue Monday by O’Reilly, who asked if he would seek out fictitious Irishman Tommy O’Malley and deport him for overstaying his visa.

“You better believe it,” Cruz said. “Both Donald Trump and Marco Rubio would allow those 12 million people to become U.S. citizens. I will not.”

Nick Visser

WATCH: Ted Cruz Tells Social Worker He’s Going To Deport Her If He Becomes President (VIDEO)

ADDICTING INFO

During a “Cruzin’ to the Caucus” campaign event in Iowa on Thursday night, Ted Cruz was questioned by a young woman who is concerned that she may be deported if Cruz is elected president.

According to the Washington Post, Ofelia Valdez is a 30-year-old woman, who works as a special needs social worker and activist. Her parents brought her into the United States when she was a child illegally. She tells Cruz that she is currently safe from being deported because of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program mandates that homeland security focus their attention on high priority individuals who have come into the United States illegally. High priority targets are people who have a violent criminal record. DACA makes it so that government agencies are not wasting resources going after people who more than likely were brought here by their parents, and have lived here for most of their lives.

“I think of myself as a part of this community and you know, first day of presidency, you decide to deport, you know, people like myself, you know, it’s just very difficult,” said Valdez.

Cruz has vowed to reverse the executive orders made by the President during the Obama administration. It doesn’t seem to matter what those executive orders are, Obama made them so they are bad. So Cruz responds, essentially telling the woman that he would deport her, should he become president.

“If you’re a DACA recipient, you were brought here illegally, and violating the law has consequences. One of the problems of our broken immigration system is that it is creating human tragedies and there are human tragedies when people break the law,” Cruz says.

Cruz then goes on to list a number of other nations that he seems to think have a singular, hegemonic system for immigration, that represents the entire world. This is met with thunderous applause from the other attendees at the event.

You can watch a video from the event below.

Republicans Aren’t Even Trying To Pretend To Care About The Latino Vote

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/JASON HIRSCHFELD

THINK PROGRESS

The Republican National Committee has suspended its partnership with NBC News moderators for the Republican primary debate in February 2016, potentially shutting out debate partners at Telemundo, the second-largest Spanish-language network, according to a letter posted Friday by RNC Chairman Reince Priebus.

The letter criticizes CNBC’s handling of the third Republican debate, accusing the network of conducting the debate “in bad faith.” According to Priebus, the moderators asked candidates questions that were “inaccurate or downright offensive.”

The Washington Post reports that Preibus’ proposal to suspend ties with NBC News was accepted by nearly all representatives of every Republican presidential campaign. Although former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s camp recommended that Telemundo be reinstated, Donald Trump’s camp reportedly “threatened to boycott a debate if the Spanish-language network that Trump has clashed with was granted one.”

Shutting out Telemundo, the second-largest Spanish-language network, may have dire consequences for a party that has been trying to make inroads since Mitt Romney won just 23 percent of Latino voters in the 2012 primary election. Soon after Romney’s loss, the RNC released a now-infamous 2012 GOP autopsy report calling on Republicans to embrace Latino voters, a fast-growing and necessary-to-win demographic.

In fact, the autopsy report specifically recommended that the GOP “invest financial resources in Hispanic media” because “[i]f we are going to attract these groups to our Party and candidates, our budgets, and expenses need to reflect this importance.” The autopsy report also said that GOP surrogates should have “a high-level presence on all Latino media” in order to “help carry and sell our message to the Hispanic community.”

Republican presidential candidates may need anywhere between 42 and 47 percent of the Latino vote, especially in key battleground states like Virginia, Ohio, New Mexico, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado, the polling group Latino Decisions found.

About two-thirds of Latino voters say that it’s extremely important or very important to have changes in federal immigration policies to pass new immigration legislation soon, according to thePew Research Center. The same poll found that about one-third of Latino voters say that they would not vote for a candidate if they disagreed with the candidate on immigration policy.

Donald Trump, who once proclaimed that he would win the Latino vote, may be one of the primary reasons that Latino voters are turned off from the Republican party in general. Trump has called for the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, criticized Republican opponent Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish at campaign events, and characterized Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers. According to the latest AP-GfK poll out last week, barely one in ten Latinos view Trump favorably.

While Republicans continue to shoot themselves in the foot, Democrats have instead seemingly embraced the ethos of the GOP autopsy report. The three major Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley, have recently either hired people who have an immigrant advocacy background or who are themselves undocumented immigrants.

ESTHER YU-HSI LEE

Some Counties In Texas Actually Are Denying Birthright Citizenship

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

THINK PROGRESS

Since 2016 Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump released his immigration policy plan to end granting citizenship to U.S.-citizen children born to undocumented immigrants, other GOP candidates have become remarkably supportive of this hard-line stance. Many scholars point out that it’s unclear how this policy would work in practice. It would likely take an act of Congress or a constitutional amendment to overrule the current birthright citizenship provision of the 14th Amendment, it would be incredibly expensive to implement, and the number of babies being born to undocumented parents is already on the decline.

Nonetheless, GOP candidates eager to end birthright citizenship need look no further than Texas, where local country registrars have started to make that situation a reality for hundreds of immigrant parents living along the border.

In the Lone Star state, undocumented immigrants say they’ve been denied birth certificates for their children since 2013. Without that official document, it’s difficult for them to enroll their child in other programs, like Medicaid or day care, or even get baptized.

Since many undocumented immigrants do not have legal identification documents — like a driver’s license or a green card — in the past they have been able to show two secondary forms of identification to obtain their child’s birth certificate from the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). One of those documents is a Mexican matrícula consular identification card.

But Texas county registers are starting to change that. In Texas’ second-largest county, the Dallas County clerk’s office announced on its website that as of June 1, its county registrars will “no longer accept the Mexican Matrícula Consular Card as verification of identity for purchase of birth certificates or for obtaining confidential records.”

Other counties already had similar policies in place, but didn’t strictly enforce them until 2013 — when Dee Porter, then chief operating officer of DSHS, told Rosalba Ojeda, the former consul general of Mexico in Austin, that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency wouldn’t accept the matrícula identification as a valid form of identification.

Texas officials stated that consulate offices don’t verify the documents used to obtain matrícula identification. They said that immigrants can use other types of identification, like student IDs, Medicaid cards, Mexican voter registrations, utility bills, and paycheck stubs, to obtain birth certificates. They insisted that they’re making sure that birth records are released “to people who are qualified to obtain them,” Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, which oversees the state’s Vital Statistics Unit, told the New York Times.

But not everyone living in Texas has access to those documents. Juana, a 33-year-old Mexican immigrant mother, told the Los Angeles Times that she doesn’t have a Mexican electoral card because she left her hometown at a young age. She also doesn’t have a Mexican passport with a U.S. visa.

Neither the Federal Bureau of Investigation nor the U.S. Department of Justice accept the matrículaas a “reliable form of identification,” the Texas Tribune reported. However, as Huffington Post’s Elise Foley reported earlier this month, many states do.

Twenty-two states would “either certainly either certainly or likely accept consular IDs as a form of identification, according to their websites, staffers or the Mexican consulate. Some of those states require an individual to show a second form of ID along with the consular card; others allow it as a primary form,” Foley reported. In Arizona, a state that once had a famously anti-immigrant law, undocumented immigrants can receive a birth certificate with a notarized signature, “so long as they have a credible witness with an ID who can attest to their identity.”

In a state where 1.68 million undocumented immigrants live, the problems presented by Texas officials are creating big headaches.

Juana, a 33-year-old Mexican immigrant who crossed the border at the age of 14, was turned away earlier this year when she went to get a copy of her youngest daughter’s birth certificate. “I’ve been here practically half my life,” Juana told Al Jazeera America. “I pay taxes. I’ve never depended on the government.” Juana’s daughter, who was born in November 2013, still doesn’t have her birth certificate.

Other undocumented immigrants told the New York Times that they limit their travels because they’re afraid of driving north past border checkpoints set up along the interior of the United States for fear that they wouldn’t be able to provide proof that they are the parents of their children. One undocumented immigrant stated that she couldn’t work since day care centers want a birth certificate and she was unable to obtain one for her nine-month old daughter.

Both the Texas Civil Rights Project and Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid have sued the Texas Department of State Health Services on behalf of 28 adults and 32 children originally from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. Lawyers for the plaintiffs believe that there are hundreds of other people who were potentially denied birth certificates but are too afraid to officially join the suit.

On October 2, attorneys for those 28 undocumented immigrants will appear before U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman, who will consider whether to issue an emergency injunction to order the Department of State Health Services to allow two forms of identification that the parents can use.

“Yes, I’m here illegally. But I’m the one who committed the crime, not them,” a 34-year-old woman who was denied birth certificates for two of her children told the New York Times.

ESTHER YU-HSI LEE

Tea party and Trump supporters can’t accept people like Jorge Ramos and Barack Obama as Americans

 headshot
attribution: JorgeRamos.com    |     American

DAILY KOS

Let’s start with the obvious. Given that the candidate himself has characterized Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, we can’t be surprised that one of his partisans told Jorge Ramos, the most influential Latino journalist there is, to “get out of my country.” Ramos responded: “This is my country. I’m a U.S. citizen too.”  Clearly thrown by the idea that this man with a Spanish accent might actually be an American, the Trump supporter spluttered: “Well, whatever. No. Univision. No. It’s not about you.”  Ramos, able to form actual sentences in English, calmly replied, “It’s not about you.  It’s about the United States.” It’s not clear whether Trump’s rhetoric exacerbates this kind of bigotry, or simply attracts those who already possess it. Either way, he and his supporters are a perfect match.

At a press conference only a few minutes earlier, Trump himself had dismissed Ramos—and, by extension, his large Latino audience—with the insult: “Go back to Univision.” This was after the journalist asked a question about the candidate’s immigration plan without waiting to be called on. Trump’s insult sounded to many Latinos a lot like: “Go back to Mexico.” Ramos discussed the interaction here.

Beyond this incident, in just the past week or so we saw two brothers—one of whom stated that he was inspired by Mr. Trump—ambush a man they targeted as Latino, leaving him with a broken nose, “battered” arms and chest, and, just for kicks, a face full of urine. Trump, in response, offered that “it would be a shame….I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.” Indeed.

Keep reading, and we’ll take a closer look.

An array of hate was on display in the crowd at a recent Trump rally in Alabama, where neo-Confederate activists passed out flyers, a reporter heard a number of “off-color remarks about minorities,” and one especially enthusiastic gentleman couldn’t stop chanting “white power.” Speaking of white power, you remember former KKK grand wizard David Duke, right? He endorsed Trump, declaring that the Donald “understands the real sentiment of America.” By the way, Duke isn’t the only white supremacist, white nationalist, or Neo-Nazi jumping on Trump’s bandwagon. What does Trump say about all these cheeky rapscallions who think he’s the Great White Hope? When asked about Duke’s endorsement, Trump claimed he hadn’t heard of him. He then added, “people like me across the board. Everybody likes me.” Well, not quite everybody.

The hate we’ve been discussing here largely stems from white racial anxiety about our country’s demographic future, an anxiety that, as I’ve written elsewhere, we ignore at our own peril. In terms of electoral politics, these sentiments strongly resemble those that motivate the tea party.

In their extensively researched book, The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, Vanessa Williamson and Theda Skocpol found that tea party members expressed a significant degree of racial animus, and that their positions on various policies followed. Tea party rhetoric defines Latinos and African-Americans as being outside the national community. Supporters expressed profound resentment over what they saw as government redistributing the wealth of “hard-working” (read: white) Americans to “undeserving” (read: black and brown people) takers. In another article, Skocpol summarized:

[Tea Party members] are overwhelmingly older, white, conservative-minded men and women who fear that “their country” is about to be lost to mass immigration and new extensions of taxpayer-funded social programs (like the Affordable Care Act) for low- and moderate-income working-aged people, many of whom are black or brown. Fiscal conservatism is often said to be the top grassroots Tea Party priority, but Williamson and I did not find this to be true.

Similarly, a study published by Florida State University sociologists in the journal Social Science Research found race-based anger to be a “distinct factor” pushing people to embrace the tea party, a factor that operated “largely independent” from actual ideology. Here’s more from this study:

The Tea Party movement is an outlet for mobilizing and expressing racialized grievances which have been symbolically magnified by the election of the nation’s first black president….The findings suggest that, among conservatives, racial resentment may be a more important determinate of membership in the Tea Party movement than hard-right political values….Conservatives who were more racially resentful were substantially more likely to claim Tea Party movement membership.

Certainly it is possible to say that one wants to “take our country back” without being motivated by racism. As conservative pundit Byron York rightly pointed out, Democrats from Al Gore to John Kerry to Howard Dean all used a version of that phrase during the George W. Bush administration. However, the tea partiers who talk incessantly about taking their country back aren’t just talking about ideology, as the research cited above makes clear. It’s not just the use of those words—it is what’s behind them, the hate we saw expressed in countless other ways by members of the tea party.

Racist anti-Obama signs.
attribution: The Colbert Report screenshot

The above is a compilation of signs from tea party rallies put together by the staff of The Colbert Report. Host Stephen Colbert noted that it took them “almost 15 seconds to put that together.” What they show is much more than a rejection of Barack Obama’s policies. They show both a profound degree of racism, as well as a rejection of Obama as an American. That’s why the tea party embraced birtherism for so long and so loudly. And which prominent individual has clung longest and most loudly to birtherism, right up to the present in fact? Donald Trump.

We didn’t constantly see signs expressing bigotry at Gore, Kerry, or Dean rallies. And that’s the difference. When the tea party talks about taking their country back, it’s about more than politics alone. Likewise, when Donald Trump talks about Mexican immigrants being rapists and criminals in order to gin up anger over undocumented immigrants, it’s about more than just concern regarding the rule of law. That anger—fueled by racial anxiety—is what we saw in the video where a “passionate,” “inspired” Trump supporter clearly saw Jorge Ramos as not American.

This isn’t just one guy, one video, and one insult. It provides another window into the soul of right-wing America, an entity so full of hate that almost any little scratch brings the bile right up and out of its mouth. You can see the hate on that Trump supporter’s face, and you can hear it in his voice. That hate fuels the tea party, and it fuels support for Donald Trump. It is, in fact, the very same hate. That hate may not motivate every single participant in those two movements, but their successes would be impossible without it.

Daily Kos Staff

Bobby Jindal: US Should Insist Immigrants ‘Adopt Our Values’ (VIDEO)

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ABC

TPM LIVEWIRE

ABC host Martha Raddatz asked Jindal if he, born to legal immigrant parents, was troubled by the “derogatory things” other GOP candidates have said.

The term “anchor babies” to refer to children who are automatically granted citizenship despite the citizenship status of their parents has been used by some presidential candidates, includingDonald Trump and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Jindal himself said last week that he was also “happy to use” the term.

On Sunday, Jindal told Raddatz that his parents have never taken the United States for granted.

“And I think this election is largely about the idea — the idea of America is slipping away in front of us. When it comes to immigration policy, what I’ve experienced and seen is that a smart immigration policy makes our country stronger; a dumb one makes us weaker. We’ve got a dumb one today,” Jindal said.

“Yes, we need to secure our border. Stop talking about it,” he continued. “I think we need to insist that folks who come here come here legally, learn English, adopt our values, roll up our sleeves and get to work.”

Raddatz interrupted Jindal and asked him to clarify what the difference was between “American values” and those of immigrants.

“Look, what I worry about is you look to Europe, the contrast is — you’ve got second, third generation immigrants that don’t consider themselves part of those societies, those cultures,” Jindal said. “We in our country shouldn’t be giving freedoms to people who want to undermine the freedom for other people. I think we need to move away from hyphenated Americans. We’re not African-Americans or Asian-Americans, Indian-Americans, rich or poor Americans: we’re all Americans.”

Watch the news program HERE>>>

Rick Santorum Compares Undocumented Parents To Bank Robbers

ASSOCIATED PRESS

THE HUFFINGTON POST

It’s “tragic” when people are split from their families because they do something wrong, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Thursday. But he fully supports deporting parents of U.S. citizens because it’s “consistent” with what the country does to people who commit crimes.

“It’s like someone who robs a bank because they want to feed their family,” the former Pennsylvania senator said in a speech at the National Press Club. “Do I feel bad that they don’t have enough money and they felt the need to rob a bank and provide for their family? Of course I feel bad, we all feel bad. … But that doesn’t obviate the fact that they’ve broken the law and that there are consequences to breaking the law.”

Santorum seemed frustrated about being asked whether he is all right with the fact that his hardline positions on immigration — the focus of Thursday’s speech — would split up families. After all, he said, the U.S. separates families all the time by sending people to jail.

“It’s a tragic thing — I don’t like it, I wish they weren’t separated,” he said. “But the fact of the matter is that we are a nation of laws.”

Santorum’s speech was an attempt to put himself back into the spotlight on immigration, or perhaps in the spotlight at all, given his lagging poll numbers. Business mogul Donald Trump has received considerable attention for his deport-them-all policies and arguments for limiting legal immigration. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker received press earlier this year for saying legal immigration should be restricted. 

Santorum noted multiple times that he’s said the same for years.

“Until this summer, I was the only candidate who had a message focused on helping American workers by putting common-sense limits on this surge of immigrants,” he said, adding later that he wanted to “encourage all the candidates and all Americans to listen to my vision for how we make America stronger.”

Santorum said during his speech that he, like Trump, believes children of unauthorized immigrants should not gain automatic citizenship, as they are guaranteed under the 14th Amendment, although he added that it’s not his “highest priority” to make such a policy change. He said the courts needed to determine whether birthright citizenship was truly required by the 14th Amendment. 

One of his higher priorities is driving out undocumented immigrants, in part by finding and deporting those who came to the U.S. legally and then overstayed their visas. Undocumented immigrants who commit crimes would be found and deported when they were picked up by police, who would be required to either cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement or lose federal grants, Santorum said.

Only one group of unauthorized immigrants would be spared: those who are doing agricultural jobs Americans don’t want, according to Santorum. He said some people in that category could stay if their employer paid a fee each year. 

Further unauthorized immigration should be prevented by sending more patrol agents and resources to the border and building more fencing, he said. Unlike Trump, who said a border wall should be built by the Mexican government, Santorum said he would have American workers build a fence.

If Mexico didn’t cooperate with preventing unauthorized immigration into the U.S., it could be punished by suspending border crossing cards — a proposal that would likely do considerable damage to the economies of towns along the border that get business from Mexicans who cross for the day.

Although most of the GOP candidates have argued for ramping up border security and upping deportations, Santorum is on the extreme end in his calls to restrict legal immigration, which he said should be reduced by 25 percent. He said this should be done by eliminating the visa lottery and so-called chain migration, when immigrants bring over family members, but not increasing other visa categories.

He said he’s not anti-immigrant, and anyone who defines him that way is a hypocrite unless they’re for open borders.

“If you’re not for that, then you can’t call anybody who wants to have a discussion as to what the limits are anti-immigrant,” he said. 

With Tough Immigration Talk, G.O.P. Again Risks Losing Latinos

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, in Des Moines on Monday, echoed Donald Trump's call to end automatic citizenship for the American-born children of undocumented immigrants.
© Eric Thayer for The New York Times Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, in Des Moines on Monday, echoed Donald Trump’s call to end automatic citizenship for the American-born children of undocumented immigrants.

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Republicans thought they had learned a lesson after 2012: Turning off Latino voters ensures defeat in the general election.

But as the disruptive presidential candidacy of Donald J. Trump continues to gain support, his hard line on immigration has driven rivals to match his biting anti-immigrant language and positions long considered extreme. It risks another general election cycle in which Hispanics view the party as unfriendly no matter who the nominee is, Republican strategists warned.

This week, several of Mr. Trump’s Republican rivals, including Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, echoed his call to end automatic citizenship for the American-born children of undocumented immigrants, which would repeal a constitutional right dating from the Civil War era.

And Mr. Trump’s plan for mass deportations — “They have to go,” he said — which is supported by a sizable minority of Republican voters nationwide, has encouraged rivals to similarly push the edges on immigration.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas introduced a bill last month named for a woman who was shot to death in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant, a case first highlighted by Mr. Trump. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana went further, saying mayors of sanctuary cities — where local law enforcement officials decline to cooperate in federal deportations — should be arrested as accomplices when illegal immigrants commit felonies.

National Republican strategists warn that catering to the most hard-line voters on immigration in the nominating contest will hurt the party in the general election, as it did for the 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, who endorsed “self-deportation” for illegal immigrants and attracted historically low Latino support.

“If Republicans want to be competitive in the general election, they have to distance themselves from Trump on both illegal and legal immigration,” said Alfonso Aguilar, a former official in George W. Bush’s administration and executive director of the American Principles Project’s Latino Partnership, a conservative group. “His proposal on birthright citizenship is very insulting to Latinos, and every day, this is the top story on Spanish language media. Right now, if the other candidates don’t respond to Trump, Latinos will buy the argument that Republicans agree with him. They cannot remain quiet.”

Demographics suggest Republicans have an even bigger challenge with Latinos in 2016 than in previous elections. The number of Latino voters has been growing rapidly. Between the presidential elections in 2008 and 2012, the population of Latinos eligible to vote grew by 19 percent.

By 2016, that electorate is expected to increase by 18 percent over 2012 to about 28 million people, more than 11 percent of voters nationwide, according to projections by theNational Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (Naleo), a nonpartisan organization.

While Latino registration and turnout rates have lagged behind other groups in recent cycles, Latino organizations have focused their registration drives in states like Colorado, Florida and Nevada, where Latino votes can swing elections and which proved critical to President Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012.

Mr. Walker, who led in Iowa polls for months before being eclipsed recently by Mr. Trump, took a harder anti-immigration position on Monday by seeming to support an end to birthright citizenship during a visit to the Iowa State Fair.

At the same time, Mr. Trump’s hard-line positions, including seizing remittances sent by undocumented workers to Mexico and severely restricting legal immigration, are allowing some rivals to define themselves more clearly in opposition to him.

Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina called Mr. Trump’s plan “gibberish” at the Iowa fair on Monday, saying, “You’re not going to get 11 million people and drive them back out of this country,” he said. “That’s just not practical. That’s going to kill the Republican Party.”

But for now, the major candidates in the Republican field who are relative moderates on immigration — Mr. Graham, Jeb Bush, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Gov. John R. Kasichof Ohio and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida — do not have the momentum or the news media attention enjoyed by Mr. Trump, who is not only denouncing illegal immigrants but attacking legal immigration in full-throated nativist language. And his calls to deport illegal immigrants are resonating with many voters.

Donald Trump at the Iowa State Fair last weekend. He has drawn a hard line on immigration.
© Eric Thayer for The New York Times | Donald Trump at the Iowa State Fair last weekend. He has drawn a hard line on immigration.

Continue reading here…

GOP’S BAFFLING TRUMP COWARDICE

GOP's baffling Trump cowardice: A party too timid to denounce a bigoted gasbag
Scott Walker, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz (Credit: AP/Scott Bauer/Richard Drew/J. Scott Applewhite/Photo montage by Salon)

SALON

Condemning Donald Trump’s obvious racism would be the easiest thing a Republican could do, but no one’s doing it

Just about every second of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, such as it is, has been a disaster. He kicked off his campaign two weeks ago with a speech calling Mexican immigrants criminals and “rapists,” and he’s been dealing with the blowback ever since. Those comments prompted NBC – which had tolerated his bigoted nonsense for years while airing his reality show – to finally cut ties with Trump, who responded by calling NBC “weak” and “foolish.” Univision announced that it would not carry Trump’s Miss USA pageant, prompting Trump to threaten to sue the network. Mexico announced that it would not send a representative to Trump’s Miss Universe pageant because of his “racist” remarks. If there’s a positive to be found in any of this, it’s that Trump’s vanity run for president is backfiring and has helped tear down some of the other garish and pathetically self-congratulatory monuments he’s erected to himself.

But what I find curious about the reaction to Trump’s blatant racism and anti-immigrant posturing is that not one Republican has stood up and done literally the easiest, least controversial, most politically buzzy thing one could do in this situation: denounce Donald Trump.

Seriously, it’s utterly baffling. Let’s think about this for a moment. The Republican Party is painfully aware that it has a major problem appealing to voter demographics outside its core coalition of old white people and religious white people. This problem is especially acute in presidential election cycles — like the one we’re in now. Recognizing how toxic this alienation of minority groups was in the 2012 presidential race, the Republican National Committee put out a big report explicitly recommending that the party’s candidates and committees do more to reach out to and engage with Latino voters and make them feel less like the GOP actively despises them. “If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e. self-deportation),” the report counseled, “they will not pay attention to our next sentence.”

In this light, Trump’s comments should have been a big, fat, hanging curve for an enterprising Republican 2016 candidate to swing hard at. What he said was bigoted; there’s no disagreement on that. As far as adversaries go, you could do worse than Trump – he is a semi-sentient pile of hair and sadness, he has no feelings to hurt, and by being on the opposite side of him you win the argument by default. And what he said has nothing to do with immigration policy. By weighing in on it you wouldn’t be taking any dangerous positions you’d later have to defend. And the media would eat that mess up.

All you’d have to do is just stand up and say Trump is wrong and a racist, and that undocumented immigrants are not all rapists. It would be a small step toward demonstrating that Republicans recognize the basic humanity of the people at the center of a controversial policy fight and don’t view them merely as criminals or some sort of invasive species.

But no one did that.

The most outrage the RNC could muster came from its communications director, who said on CNN that “painting Mexican Americans with that kind of a brush, I think that’s probably something that is not helpful to the cause.” And as far as I can tell, the only candidate who has responded with any sort of criticism to Trump is Jeb Bush, who offered a mild Spanish-language rebuke of The Donald:

But on Saturday, Mr. Bush did address comments Mr. Trump made in his campaign launch speech about the Mexican border, in which he said people coming to the U.S. from Mexico are “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

At a Saturday event in Nevada, Mr. Bush said in Spanish, “I do not agree with his words. They do not represent the values of the Republican Party and they do not represent my values,” according to a campaign aide.

As for the rest, they’ve either kept their mouths shut or, remarkably, agreed with Trump’s assessment of the immigrant community. “I like Donald Trump. I think he’s terrific, I think he’s brash, I think he speaks the truth,” Ted Cruz said on Fox Newsyesterday. I’m sure Republicans would much rather that Cruz and Trump be viewed as pariahs and extremists on this issue. By clamming up, though, they’re letting those two speak for the party. And this whole business with Trump being a flaming bigot won’t just go away. He’s Donald Trump – he doesn’t stop talking. The longer he’s out there saying racist garbage while running for the Republican nomination, the more awkward it becomes that no one is challenging him on it.

Again, I’m not saying that denouncing Trump would accomplish much of anything or solve any problems. The GOP has issues with Latino voters that go well beyond the bigotry of one rich white guy. But that’s why the silence on Trump is so strange to me. The party clearly has little intention of implementing policy changes to help broaden its appeal (border security now, border security forever!) so it would at least make some sense to go for the superficial outreach efforts. “Sure, we’re still going to deport you and your families and otherwise treat you like criminals, but hey – we don’t assume you’re rapists!” But apparently even that is too much to ask.

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