Conservative Opposition Grows as Candidates’ Immigration Rhetoric Nosedives
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The campaign spotlight is on Donald Trump’s immigration plan and those among his fellow candidates who are echoing his sentiment.
An alleged hateful act Wednesday in Boston stands out as one result of their hateful rhetoric. Police say two brothers beat a homeless man because he is Hispanic. “Donald Trump was right, all these illegals need to be deported,” one allegedly said to police.
Trump’s reported response: “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.”
Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, takes the candidates to task in a newly published Fox News Latino opinion piece.
“The result of hateful speech by presidential candidates is hateful actions by their followers. And Trump’s response is not acceptable,” Noorani writes. “When it comes to immigration, the GOP fight for the nomination is officially a race to the bottom.”
Trump’s plan to defy the 14th Amendment and end birthright citizenship also has garnered attention, including a Politico article that identifies the issue as a litmus test.
The article quotes Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission: “The American people often disagree on what the best approach should be to fixing the immigration system. But we have veered off now into a rhetorical targeting of immigrants themselves. The use of language such as ‘anchor babies’ is disgusting.”
“The call to rescind birthright citizenship goes well beyond the call for ‘self-deportation,’” Daniel Garza, Executive Director of the Libre Initiative, adds in the piece. “You are talking about a massive institutional revision. That is not gonna happen. But just driving that narrative is just going to split people.”
Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a former official in the George W. Bush White House, says, “It’s a terrible idea. It’s a politically insane idea. It can’t be done. It’s impossible to achieve … So what’s the point? It’s symbolism and it’s exactly the wrong kind of symbolism. If Republicans want to make this their symbol … they’ll pay a high price for it.”
The bottom line, writes Noorani:
“When we address how to help immigrants contribute fully by making available the opportunities, skills and status for them to reach their fullest potential, America is thriving. When presidential candidates are tacitly endorsing alleged hate crimes, America is failing.”