Issues ››› Immigration
  • Latinos: A New Immigration Plan From Donald Trump Won't Magically Erase His Previous Bigotry

    ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    Latino media figures are calling Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s “possible reversal” over immigration policy “too late,” noting that “Trump based his campaign on attacking immigrants,” and that the vague reports about a shifting stance on immigration come only a day after “Trump aired [a] xenophobic, anti-immigrant ad,” which “overtly” cites the anti-immigration group Center for Immigration Studies, whose founder “drifts in and out of overt white supremacist circles.” 

  • New York Times Outlines Long-Term Turmoil Created By "The Bigotry And Paranoia" Of "The Trump Phenomenon"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The New York Times editorial board outlined the future challenges Republicans will face separating their proposals from the “frontier gibberish,” “bigotry," and "paranoia” that GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump mainlined into the political party.

    From the first day of his campaign, Trump and his media surrogates have used his presidential candidacy to push anti-immigrant rhetoric that has empowered white nationalists, who see Trump as their “last stand” against America’s multicultural future. The Trump campaign further entrenched its xenophobic tone with the recent hiring of Breitbart’s Stephen Bannon as CEO. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which specializes in monitoring right-wing extremism, said Bannon’s hire meant that “the line between Trump and the extreme right has just gone from fuzzy to virtually non-existent.” Before assuming control of the Trump campaign, Bannon used his daily radio show to host conspiracy theorists and amplify his own unhinged theories attempting to link the Muslim Brotherhood to Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine, Huma Abedin, and Obama White House officials.

    An August 20 editorial from The New York Times stated that it is “no wonder that the nativists are feelinging inspired” by “the Trump phenomenon,” which “scapegoated immigrants and refugees in general and Latinos and Muslims in particular.” The editors also wrote that Trump’s new campaign CEO is a “purveyor of conspiracy theories and anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant venom,” and is thus a “natural ally” of Trump, who “hints that President Obama is a secret Muslim” and “insists that Muslims in New Jersey danced by the thousands as the towers fell on 9/11.” From The New York Times:

    It could be that the polls are right, and Mr. [Donald] Trump will go down in flames. But while that will solve an immediate problem, a larger one will remain. The message of hatred and paranoia that is inciting millions of voters will outlast the messenger. The toxic effects of Trumpism will have to be addressed.

    The most obvious damage has already been done — to the debate over immigration, a subject that is America’s pride but that can also show the country at its worst. Mr. Trump’s solution is to build an unbuildable border wall and force 11 million people out of the country, while letting millions of “good ones” back in. Or maybe not — now he says he wants to bar immigrants from most of the world, except for a few who pass religious and ideological tests. “Extreme vetting,” he calls it, bringing the Alien and Sedition Acts and McCarthyism into the reality-TV age.

    Yes, Mr. Trump speaks frontier gibberish. Outright nativism remains a fringe American phenomenon. But there is no shortage of mainstream politicians who have endorsed his message by endorsing the Republican nominee. Anyone hoping to build a serious solution to immigration after this election will have to confront the unworkable ideas and vicious emotions that Mr. Trump, with many enablers, has dragged into the open.

    It seems like a century ago, but it was only 2001 when a Republican president, George W. Bush, began talking about a once-in-a-generation overhaul of the outdated American immigration laws. He sought a bipartisan consensus to boost the economy and make millions right with the law. Then came 9/11. Though sensible immigration reform gained the broad support of the American public, legislation in Congress repeatedly failed, ambushed by hard-core Republican partisans.

    This year brought the fever dream of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where speaker after speaker presented a vision of foreigners stealing across the border to rob, rape and kill. Cued by Mr. Trump, they scapegoated immigrants and refugees in general and Latinos and Muslims in particular. The crowd cheered for Sheriff Joe Arpaio, brutalizer of Arizona Latinos, and Rudolph Giuliani, who hollered about terrorists and criminals as if running for mayor of Gotham City.

    It’s no wonder that the nativists are feeling inspired, the bigots emboldened. The white supremacist David Duke is running for the Senate. Stephen Bannon, Breitbart’s chief purveyor of conspiracy theories and anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant venom, is the natural ally of a candidate who hints that President Obama is a secret Muslim and who insists that Muslims in New Jersey danced by the thousands as the towers fell on 9/11.


    The challenge to responsible leaders of any political party will be to separate the economic discontent from the bigotry and paranoia that are the key to the Trump phenomenon. The question to future Republican leaders is whether they will even try to do so.

  • Bannon Hire Is The Nail In The Coffin Of RNC Latino Outreach Effort

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LOPEZ

    Shortly after the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) director of Hispanic communications announced a Latino engagement campaign that she said signified “a dramatic change” from what the community has come to expect from the RNC and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, news broke that Trump had appointed Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen Bannon as his campaign’s chief executive. Under Bannon’s leadership, Breitbart News has frequently used anti-immigrant slurs, defended Trump’s worst attacks on immigrants and Latinos, and published “war on Spanish” and alt-right, nativist-appealing content.

    On the August 16 edition of Univision’s Noticiero Univision Edición Nocturna, the RNC’s Helen Aguirre Ferré told Univision correspondent Janet Rodríguez that “we’re going to see a dramatic change in our approach toward the [Hispanic] community, and you’ll see it as well from the campaign of Mr. Trump.” The segment was reporting on a Latino engagement campaign the RNC is launching, which includes “ads about terrorism in Spanish.”

    The next morning Trump’s campaign announced Bannon’s appointment, highlighting an obvious disconnect between the campaign’s direction and Aguirre Ferré’s statement. Aguirre Ferré -- who has admitted to never having met the presidential candidate -- has openly criticized Trump in the past and scrubbed negative tweets about him after being hired for the RNC position, which she filled after former director Ruth Guerra quit over “lingering discomfort” with Trump’s nomination.

    Bannon’s hiring indicates that Trump has no intention of changing the hostile anti-immigrant tone of his campaign, as attacking undocumented immigrants has been a staple of the Breitbart News Bannon chaired. Many of the website’s immigration-related stories are headlined with anti-immigrant slurs -- which the Associated Press and many news outlets have long abandoned and the National Association Of Hispanic Journalists condemns -- and it regularly promotes myths fearmongering about undocumented immigrants committing voting fraud (which on its own is far from being a widespread activity) and taking advantage of food stamps.

    The right-wing news site has also echoed Trump’s attacks on the use of the Spanish language, slamming the Democratic Party for “discard[ing] assimilation” by featuring speakers who addressed the Democratic National Convention in Spanish and mocking Jeb Bush’s wife Columba Bush’s “halting, accented and simple English.”

    Additionally, Breitbart News stood by Trump’s racist attacks against Federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel -- which were widely criticized by the Hispanic community -- stating that Trump was “correct” in saying that the judge’s ethnicity impaired his impartiality and smearing (incorrectly) the lawyers association Curiel belongs to.

    Under Bannon, Breitbart News became Trump’s official propaganda arm by relentlessly defending his inflammatory rhetoric, including the remarks that have offended Latino voters the most: that Mexican immigrants are “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” While Trump’s remarks reportedly had violent, real-life consequences for Latinos, Breitbart News commended Trump for doing a “spectacular job of changing the debate on illegal immigration to exactly where it should be.”

    Bannon turned Breitbart News into the “media arm of the alt-right,” masquerading its fringy “racist” and “anti-immigrant ideas” as news. It’s likely he will now attempt to package those ideas as policy proposals in the presidential election, possibly with devastating results to the second-largest demographic in the country:

    As Maria Hinojosa of NPR's Latino USA pointed out in her coverage of damaging 2016 campaign rhetoric, "Words are powerful; they can motivate people in good ways and bad." In fact, words are already motivating people in negative ways. Latino teens were attacked in Los Angeles by white supremacists who yelled "Heil Hitler" and waved Confederate memorabilia, and students at a high school basketball game chanted "Trump" "as an epithet directed at Latino students," according to CNN. And in Boston, "a Hispanic man was beaten ... by two Boston men, one of whom told police that he was inspired by Donald J. Trump's anti-immigrant message." The correlation between rhetoric that has gone beyond dog-whistles and violence is also demonstrated by The Huffington Post's running list of racial incidents that have happened at Trump rallies, often with the blessing of the candidate.

  • Fox Defends Trump’s “Extreme Vetting” Proposal As Other Journalists Criticize It

    ››› ››› CAT DUFFY

    Fox News figures are praising Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s proposal to have “extreme vetting” of immigrants wanting to come into the United States and using questionnaires to vet their beliefs, saying “we’ve done it before,” that it “made sense,” and that it was part of a “a solution-based program.” Meanwhile, other journalists and media outlets are saying the idea “just beggars belief” and is an “impractical” attempt “to recast his Muslim ban in other, less obviously offensive terms.”