Trump’s Immigration Plan Is Irresponsible, Inhumane, and Politically Expedient

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

It’s hard to take Donald Trump’s immigration rhetoric seriously when he’s taken literally every position possible on the issue of immigration. A month ago, he was arguing for a path to legal status. Three years ago he criticized Mitt Romney’s self-deportation policy as ‘maniacal’. And now he’s supportive of mass deportation? Trump may characterize himself as an anti-politician, but he’s certainly showcasing himself as a typical politician who says whatever is most politically expedient in the moment.

Mr. Trump’s proposal is irresponsible and lacks seriousness. But most importantly, Trump’s proposal is inhumane.

The immense majority of undocumented immigrants are honest, hard-working people who ended up here illegally only because we have a broken immigration system that impedes the legal flow of the foreign workers that our economy needs. To suggest that we should expel all of them from the country they have made their home and to which they contribute so much is cynical, unfair and shows a total lack of human compassion.

Trump is playing politics on this issue and has conveniently flip-flopped on the issue out of crass political expediency.

Rather than hurting the middle class, immigration actually helps it.  In a dynamic economy like ours, immigrants generate more economic activity and expand the consumer base.  Foreign workers also fill niche jobs that American are not taking and by doing so they create better paying jobs upstream in the labor market for Americans. Here again, Trump contradicts himself once again. Only a few weeks ago he said in a CNN interview he was very supportive of legal immigration and now he’s completely changed his tune. Continue Reading

When Will Hillary Return Trump’s Donations?

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (photo credit: Marc Nozell via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

Hillary Clinton has been extremely irresponsible in taking advantage of Donald Trump’s insulting comments about Mexican immigrants. Saying that all GOP presidential candidates agree with Trump on immigration is factually untrue.

Several key candidates including Governor Rick Perry, Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio, have forcefully denounced Trump for his insulting and baseless comments. Clinton’s comments are misleading Latino voters and this is the worst kind of crass political pandering.

If she is so appalled by her friend Donald Trump’s comments, she should give back the over $100,000 she received from the Trump Foundation. Today I call on her to do so.

Alfonso Aguilar is the executive director of American Principles in Action’s Latino Partnership. Continue Reading

What Would a Conservative Immigration Reform Look Like?

On Sunday, I was invited to C-SPAN to discuss immigration reform and APIA’s new five-point action plan to fix our country’s immigration system.  You can see the full video, as well as an excerpt of the discussion, below:

Steven Scully: “I want to share with you a poll that came out a couple of months ago. It’s available online at But as you look at the breakdown of how Democrats and Republicans view the issue of immigration, 70 percent of those self-identified Republicans say they oppose any path to citizenship. Seven zero…”

Alfonso Aguilar: “Right, but the problem is with this issue that it has been oversimplified, mainly by Democrats, saying that the issue is about a path to citizenship, and that is not true. The majority of Republicans do not oppose a path to legal status, bringing people out of the shadows. The important thing is to give them a legal status. But this is not necessarily a special path to citizenship. That is what we’re talking about.

Photo credit: Craig Nagy via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

“The majority of Republicans are not saying, ‘let’s close the door to citizenship.’ But if you want to become a citizen, you would have to follow the path established by current law, which means you would have to get to the back of the line, not cutting in line. So the question here is really not the path to citizenship, but we shouldn’t give them a special path to citizenship.  And that’s what Democrats are proposing: some sort of entitlement, that we would pass a law that would guarantee that people reach citizenship.

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On Immigration, the President Wants an Issue, Not a Solution

President Barack Obama (photo via Wikimedia Commons)

On Tuesday, a Federal Court of Appeals ruled against lifting an injunction against President Obama’s executive order to halt deportations. This latest ruling represents a small portion of a much larger problem with the President’s handling of immigration policy.

When it comes to immigration, the President clearly wants an issue, not a solution. Sadly, the President chose to play with the hopes and aspirations of millions of undocumented immigrants for political purposes, instead of trying to work with the new Congress to find a real and permanent solution to our immigration problems.

This unfortunate circumstance, however, presents Republicans with an extraordinary opportunity to show that they are compassionate and capable of rising above the President’s political games. If they decide to deal with the issue constructively and pass legislation to begin fixing our dysfunctional immigration system, rather than sitting on their hands out of sheer frustration with the President’s disregard for the constitutional process, they can show the American people that they have the leadership to accomplish what Democrats have so far only talked about.

As Republicans move forward, however, they should understand that they do not have only two options — Obama’s executive amnesty, on one hand, or Romney’s self-deportation, on the other. However, this is a false choice. There is a third way — a conservative way — to approach immigration that is based on the rule of law and on the realization that immigration is good for the country and for our economy. Continue Reading

Bush Takes on National Review on Immigration

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, responded to National Review’s criticism of his position favoring a path to citizenship to undocumented immigrants by saying: “I love you… I just think you are wrong on immigration”.

Unlike many politicians, who flip flop with the political winds, Jeb Bush keeps coming forward and staying consistent on his pro-immigration reform stance, which nowadays seems as an odd position within official and non-official pre-presidential Republican candidates. The National Journal even refers to Bush as “a moderate outlier” just for defending his immigration position versus an array of ideas coming from most of the other Republican pre-candidates, which are widely distant and critical of supporting a reform process which may include a pathway to citizenship. But support for immigration is not a “moderate position.” It was Ronald Reagan’s position.

Describing the exchange between Bush and the Reviews Rich Lowry, The National Journal reported that:

“That’s how you’re going to grow your economy, is bringing young, aspirational people in,” Bush said. “I think I’m right about this, and if we’re going to grow economically, then we better figure out how to fix this quick.”

Bush said President Obama wants to see reform delayed, so he can continue to use it as a cudgel against Republicans.[process that may include a pathway to  what has been one of his main talking points regarding Immigration on the Right to Rise PAC candidacy exploration visits.

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Outreach to Latinos Takes Center Stage at Pro-Life Gala

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) (photo credit: Department of Defense via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

The Susan B. Anthony List’s annual gala was a star-studded affair: Republican names from Rand Paul to Carly Fiorina took the stage to celebrate the latest victories for the pro-life movement and recommit to ending the tragedy of abortion. Perhaps the most important contribution, however, came from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who pointed out a path for social conservatives to radically expand their base.

Senator Graham, in answering why being pro-life is a winner in America, asked a poignant question: Who are the most pro-life group in America?

The answer, in this case, was Hispanics!  Graham made another important point on this case: Hispanics agree with us more than any other group on social issues, and yet the vast majority of their votes (over 70 percent) went to Democrats in 2012.

By rights, conservatives should have an easy time courting Hispanics, especially at a time when more and more of them are turned off by Democrats’ extreme position on the issue (as noted by Marjorie Dannenfelser last night).  So why have we failed to reach out to the people who are filling most of our churches?  One word: immigration.  Democrats have successfully convinced the Hispanic community that Republicans are against compassionate immigration reform, and Graham made the case that we need to fight this perception to stay competitive.

In order to win in 2016, Republicans will need to earn at least 40 percent of the Hispanic vote.  Continue Reading

The Pulse Gets It Wrong on Perry and Religious Freedom

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0)

I have to wholeheartedly disagree with Maggie Gallagher’s ‘D’ rating for Rick Perry on religious liberty.  I should point out that Governor Perry took to Twitter to clearly and strongly defend Indiana Governor Pence and the state’s religious freedom law.

But, most importantly, he has a history of speaking passionately and eloquently on the subject that isn’t just limited to the past couple of days, and making assumptions about his views based on a single statement is a extremely unfair to him and only helps to distort his record.  Below are some quotes of Rick Perry engaging on nearly every aspect of religious liberty.

On the concept that public displays of religion need to be regulated:

Their view is that if one citizen believes there is no God, they must be protected from public references to an Almighty Creator. In an effort to protect a minority view, they go so far as to maintain the position that an atheist, or a non-Christian, cannot be exposed to the majority of religious viewpoints in America without unduly being indoctrinated. What about believing enough in your fellow men and woman to acknowledge that maybe they can think for themselves?

On My Honor (2008), p. 87

On judicial overreach:

Consider that it is our courts that routinely decide, with little or no chance of further appeal, how and where we may and may not pray to God, when life begins, whether contraception must be allowed to be sold, whether and how we can celebrate religious holidays, what those other than man and woman must be allowed to marry, what level of discrimination may carried out (in the name of ending discrimination), whether a state must allow women to attend an all-male military academy, who may be executed and whether we may execute criminals at all, and generally any issue involving social preference, morality, and our collective concept of right and wrong.

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Is Ted Cruz Latino?

I had a great conversation last week about Ted Cruz with Alejandro Negron, the host of the Hispanic Agenda on Channel 8/Telemundo, who kindly introduced me as “a leading Latino conservative voice and advocate for Latinos inside the Republican Party.”

Alejandro started by asking me about the media voices saying Cruz is not really a Latino, and whether that is fair. Of course, I defended Cruz:

“It’s totally unfair, because it tries to create this perception that the Hispanic community is a monolithic community, that there is one Hispanic agenda that all Hispanics have to buy into,”  I told him. “To say that he’s not good on immigration, he’s less Hispanic, it’s ridiculous and I would say even condescending . . . Latinos are above that.”

Ted Cruz will not only push candidates like Rand Paul and Jeb Bush on the social issues, like life and marriage, but also on economic issues with his morally populist economic message. However, especially on the issue of immigration, GOP candidates have to present a balanced perspective:

It’s all right to talk about border security. It’s all right to talk about domestic enforcement. But they also have to address the big elephant in the room: the undocumented population. What are you going to do with undocumented immigrants?  In that respect, I think that Gov. Bush and Sen. Rand Paul have addressed that issue and said that we have to look at the undocumented population and find a way to bring them out of the shadows.

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Radical Pro-Abortion Politics, Not Race, Holds Up Loretta Lynch’s Confirmation

I had a very spirited MSNBC discussion about the fight over the holdup to Loretta Lynch’s confirmation as Attorney General on Melissa Perry-Harris’s  talk-show “Nerdland.”  Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)  set the stage by declaring on the floor of the Senate that “[Lynch]… is asked to sit in the back of the bus when it comes to the Senate calendar…” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called that “offensive” and called on Durbin to apologize to Lynch, the Senate and to all Americans.

When Melissa turned to me, I told her it was “the worst kind of race-baiting,”—when Durbin voted against Condoleeza Rice was he being racist? Of course not.

And then I pointed out the obvious:

“The only reason why this is taking so long at this point in time is because the Democrats are intent on subverting the consensus policy that we have had with the Hyde Amendment of the federal government not providing funding to abortion.  It is radical abortion tactics, if anything, that is holding up Loretta Lynch’s confirmation.”

Needless to say, not everyone on MSNBC agreed with me, but I think I made my point.

Alfonso Aguilar is the executive director of American Principles in Action’s Latino Partnership. Continue Reading