The Republican Debate Over Deporting Millions Of Our Neighbors
Last month, People For the American Way ran Donald Trump ads on Spanish language radio in northern Virginia to help progressive Democrat Jeremy McPike win a crucial state Senate seat. It worked; McPike beat right-wing sociopath, Manassas Mayor Harry “Hal” Parrish II. People for the American Way's work was meant to help register Latinos to vote, not just for Pike but in preparation for the 2016 elections as well and they felt Trump's racism and xenophobia would be a boost among Americans who are revolted by how he has dragged the GOP into the ugly divisiveness that is at the center of his brand. As Heidi Przybyla wrote in USA Today, "The first signs of a major U.S. Latino voter mobilization are forming, and it’s Republicans turbocharging an effort likely to help Hillary Clinton."
Last night's Republican debate came just after the RNC had announced-- under pressure from some of the candidates-- that they were canceling the scheduled Telemundo debate, something, as RH Reality Check's Tina Vasquez explained, is likely to cost Republicans even more Latino votes-- because of the failures in building trust and making investments in the community-- than just what's been lost because of the outbreak of Trumpoid xenophobia and racism. On the most basic level, dissing Telemundo means the GOP is disrespecting American Hispanics. Of course one of the flashpoints in the debate was over immigration policy-- or more specifically, over Trump's racist deportation craziness. Writing right afterwards for the NY Times, Jonathan Martin and Patrick Healy noted that Kasich and Bush tried to "energize their campaigns by heaping scorn on Donald J. Trump’s plan to deport unauthorized immigrants."
In the most substantive Republican debate so far, Mr. Kasich and Mr. Bush, who have been fading in polls, presented themselves as experienced chief executives who had practical solutions to deal with national challenges like immigration. Yet Mr. Trump and another candidate, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, inveighed against what they called amnesty and argued that undocumented workers were driving down Americans’ wages.We asked 3 of the Blue America candidates what they thought about all the hatefulness on display last night. Joseline Pena-Melnyk is the progressive candidate running for the seat Donna Edwards is giving up in Maryland. She told us that, "We need a humane solution for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the US. To leave them in the shadows risks creating an underclass that feels permanently alienated and never becomes 'American.' I support President Obama’s plan for a path for them to earn a green card and eventually citizenship. The indiscriminate deportation policy that Republicans favor would break up families and create more problems for America. Parents would be deported while their US-born children could be left behind and dependent on public support."
...While several other candidates, like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and the retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, received a pass from the moderators on immigration, Mr. Kasich took on the issue directly after Mr. Trump defended his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border and to identify and deport some 11 million people.
“Think about the families; think about the children,” Mr. Kasich said. “Come on, folks, we know you can’t pick them up and ship them across the border. It’s a silly argument. It’s not an adult argument.”
Mr. Trump, whose counterpunches were a memorable part of his early debate performances, replied coolly at first, citing President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s approach to deporting immigrants in the 1950s.
“You don’t get nicer; you don’t get friendlier,” Mr. Trump said. “We have no choice. We have no choice.”
But Mr. Kasich stayed on the attack. “Little false little things, sir, they really don’t work when it comes to the truth,” he said.
Mr. Bush then tried to pounce. He twitted Mr. Trump, his longtime rival in the race, for suggesting that Mr. Bush be allowed to speak-- “What a generous man you are”-- and warned that Mr. Trump’s harsh proposals would drive Hispanic voters to support the Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.
“They’re doing high-fives in the Clinton campaign right now when they hear this,” Mr. Bush said.
Nanette Barragán is also running in a solid blue district, although she faces a very corrupt and very conservative primary opponent, a non-Hispanic in a Hispanic-majority district. "For the party that claims to be family friendly," she told us this morning, "it’s shocking to see how committed Republicans are to dividing families instead of keeping them together. Last night, Donald Trump continued to tout his disastrous plan to deport 11 million people and build a wall, and Marco Rubio said nothing. For years families have suffered as a result of our broken immigration system, and that's unacceptable. In Congress, I will fight against the campaign of hate directed at immigrant families like the one in which I was raised. And I will advocate for comprehensive immigration reform that will keep families together and recognize the contributions that immigrants make to our communities and economy."
Ruben Kihuen is one of the most trusted progressive leaders in the Nevada legislature and he's running for a blue-leaning seat currently held by a weak and conflicted Republican freshman, Cresent Hardy, who would like to deport everyone but is too scared to agree with his GOP compatriots too loudly. Ruben has no problem expressing his sentiments loud and clear: "I am a proud immigrant to this country. My family moved here when I was eight years old with little more than the clothes on our back and today I am a State Senator and candidate for U.S. Congress. That's the American Dream. If Donald Trump wants to make America great again, he needs to end his racist, impractical and inhumane proposal to round up and deport 11 million people. Even the so called moderates of the GOP field like Bush seem to only oppose Trump's proposal for political purposes, saying it would give the election to Democrats. I can't tell which is worst but it's clear the Republican field is out of touch with working class Americans who want to fix our broken immigration system."
Watch Fox News' interpretation of the Republican immigration debate from last night on the video clip above above. This morning morning, the right-wing Washington Times had a headline: Jeb Bush, John Kasich seal their fates by pandering to illegal immigrants.
Trump's dramatic interpretation of Eisenhower's "Operation Wetback" was very sugar-coated-- and filled with incorrect information as is Trump's standard operating procedure. For one thing, "[t]he one-million-deported figure that Trump cites was the one that [Attorney General Herbert] Brownell trumpeted a year after Operation Wetback’s implementation, but researchers say that number is highly exaggerated." And Trump's 1 million figure isn't 11 million or 14 million or however many people he says he'll round up and deport now. Kind of embarrassing for Rubio to have to tip-toe around Trump's ugly xenophobic fantasy that is meant to solve nothing, just (momentarily) placate the worst elements of the Know Nothing Republican base.
As if Jeb Bush’s campaign were not already finished, the candidate drilled several additional screws into his own coffin during Tuesday night’s debate here.
“Even having this conversation sends a powerful signal,” he whined as real estate mogul and presidential front-runner Donald Trump tangled with the Democratic wing of the Republican Party over the insanity of allowing 12 million illegal aliens to roam free in America without the slightest concern that our country’s laws might just apply to them.
Outside the debate hall, protesters beat drums and screamed for amnesty. One man with a bullhorn kept repeating over and over again that justice is not possible in America. And every third time or so he accused Mr. Trump of being a “racist” for vowing to enforce America’s immigration laws. No word on whether he was a plant, paid for by the Bush campaign.
On stage inside the debate hall, Mr. Trump stuck to his guns and said that immigration laws passed by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress and approved by presidents from both parties should simply be enforced. That is all he is saying.
Yet Mr. Bush not only thinks these laws should be summarily dismissed, he said during the debate that even having a discussion about enforcing our immigration laws is a terrible thing. We should dismiss these laws and there should not even be a debate about it.
“They’re doing high-fives in the Clinton campaign right now when they hear this,” Mr. Bush said.
Wow. Truly astonishing. Not only does Mr. Bush not belong in the White House or the Republican Party, he should just be deported. Perhaps to Mexico, where he might be happier and find greater success in politics.
Astonishingly, Mr. Bush was not alone on the Republican stage. “Think about the families!” cried Ohio Gov. John Kasich. “C’mon, folks!”
These people really have no clue how desperately frustrated and estranged American voters in both parties are over this issue of rampant illegal immigration and Washington’s absolute refusal to take simple, common sense measures to fix the problem.
John Kasich should be deported right behind Jeb Bush.
This morning Univision analyst Javier Maza told host Satcha Pretto that Trump once again lead the rest of the Republicans down a tragic rabbit hole:
"Los analistas tenemos que ver no sólo las cosas que se dicen, sino las cosas que no se dicen. Marco Rubio y Ted Cruz se callaron la boca al momento de que se hablaban de deportar a los 11 millones de indocumentados. Es decir que son hispanos de origen, pero republicanos de corazón. Y eso va a ser un problema para ellos siempre cuando se trata de representar el interés y lo que realmente los hispanos queremos en este país."
"We commentators need to observe not only what they say but what they don’t say. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz kept their mouth shut in the moment [during the debate] when deporting the 11 million undocumented immigrants was discussed. That is to say that they are Hispanics by origin but Republican at heart. And that is always going to be a problem for them when it’s time to represent the interests and what we hispanics really want for the country."