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

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.” 

Trump Tells Hispanic Leaders He Is Considering A Softer Stance On Immigration

Univision: “Trump Plans To Announce A Major Shift On Immigration Policy” That “Will Include Finding A Way To Legalize Millions Of Undocumented Immigrants.” Univision’s Eduardo Suarez reported that “three people who attended a meeting between [Trump] and Hispanic leaders” on August 20 told him that the Trump plan “would include some form of legalizing the status of some undocumented immigrants,” a position that “if true, would stand in sharp contrast to his previous statements about immigrants during the campaign.” Suarez noted that “the possible reversal over immigration policy by the Republican candidate would not be without precedent.” From the August 20 article:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump plans to present an immigration plan in Colorado Thursday that will include finding a way to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants, according to three people who attended a meeting between the candidate and Hispanic leaders on Saturday at Trump Tower in New York.

"I really liked that Trump acknowledged that there is a big problem with the 11 million [undocumented] people who are here, and that deporting them is neither possible nor humane,” said Jacob Monty, a Texas immigration lawyer who attended the meeting.

If true, Trump's plan would stand in sharp contrast to his previous statements about immigrants during the campaign. During the primaries, the New York property tycoon promised to build a wall along the border with Mexico and to deport all undocumented immigrants.

The possible reversal over immigration policy by the Republican candidate would not be without precedent after Trump has shifted his position on a variety of issues during his campaign from banning Muslims to taxes, minimum wages and and abortion.


Trump told the group of conservative Hispanic leaders he would announce a plan to grant legal status “that wouldn't be citizenship but would allow them to be here without fear of deportation.” said Monty.

The campaign has so far not provided details of the plan, and Trump spokesman Steven Cheung, said in a statement that Trump's position remains unchanged on immigration. [Univision, 8/21/16]

According To Latinos In The Media, Potential Reversal On Immigration Is “Too Late,” And Would Not Win Over Latinos

CNN’s Ana Navarro: Trump Has “Based His Campaign On Attacking Immigrants,” It’s “Too Late” For An Alleged Immigration Reversal. CNN Republican political commentator Ana Navarro recapped the many times Trump has attacked Hispanics, concluding that he has “based his campaign on attacking Hispanics, attacking immigrants like pi‎ñatas” and “you don't get to beat us like piñatas for a year and then come back at the last minute and try to make nice. Too late.” Navarro cited Trump’s racist comments about Mexicans, his pattern of snubbing prominent Hispanic journalists, and his nomination acceptance speech riddled with “all the bad things” about immigrants to argue that he “is just not an acceptable option.” From the August 22 edition of CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello:

CAROL COSTELLO (HOST): So Ana, you and a lot of other Hispanics and Latinos are opposed to Mr. Trump. A recent Fox poll shows, this was a poll taken just about three days ago, or released three days ago. It shows Trump trailing Clinton with Hispanics by 46 points. So does what Jesus is saying make you more open to Mr. Trump?

ANA NAVARRO: No, listen. As far as I'm concerned, he burned those bridges a long, long time ago. You don't get to start over two and a half months before an election. You just don't get to erase the things that you have said for over a year. He has called Mexicans rapists, has said that they bring crime. He hasn't given one interview to Univision or Telemundo. In fact, he kicked Jorge Ramos and José Díaz-Balart, anchors with both those networks, out of events. He has focused, laser-focused, really based his campaign on attacking Hispanics, attacking immigrants like pi‎ñatas. I don't hear him ever talk about the positive stories about immigration. He has people like Joe Arpaio standing in front of a wall during the Republican convention and goes on to give one of the longest speeches, nomination acceptance speeches in history where he focuses on all the bad things that some immigrants that have come here have done, not any of the positive stuff. Now, I will tell you, though, Carol, I think it's very important to understand that Latinos are not one homogeneous group, and immigration is not the issue that defines Latinos and Latino support. And you know, I think, look, if, well, Mr. Marquez is doing what that group did, that they're trying to meet with him and maybe expand his horizons so that he's not so ignorant about Hispanics, great for them. I respect their choice. Now, I will tell you, I will stand with the other 85 percent of Latinos for whom Trump is just not an acceptable option, you don't get to beat us like piñatas for a year and then come back at the last minute and try to make nice. Too late. [CNN, CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello, 8/22/16]

Univision’s Enrique Acevedo: “This Is Absurd. Meeting Comes 24 [Hours] After Trump Aired Xenophobic, Anti-Immigrant Ad." Univision news anchor Enrique Acevedo responded to a tweet by RNC Hispanic Outreach Director Helen Aguirre Ferre rejecting the idea that Trump’s meeting with Hispanics was “excellent,” and noting that the Trump campaign released a “xenophobic, anti-immigrant ad” just a day before the meeting.

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Jorge Ramos Slammed Trump For Trying To “Go Back On His Insults And Proposals Against Immigrants” Saying It’s “Too Late.” In a series of tweets, Univision’s Jorge Ramos blasted Trump for trying to take back his racist comments about immigrants, saying “we remember what he said. Every word,” and adding that Trump “already lost the Latino vote.”

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La Opinión’s Pilar Marrero Pointed Out “Dark” And “Threatening” Anti-Immigration TV Ad Released Hours Before “Contradicting Versions” Of Reversal Reports. La Opinión journalist Pilar Marrero questioned Trump’s perceived immigration reversal, by noting that Trump’s first national TV ad presents immigration as “threatening” and was released hours before the “contradicting reports” of Trump’s reversal. Marrero’s August 21 article also pointed out that Trump’s anti-immigration ad cites an “anti-immigrant think tank,” Center for Immigration Studies (CIS). Translated from the article:

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will announce this week more details about his future policy regarding undocumented immigrants and their deportations, after a weekend full of confusion in which there were contradicting reports about an alleged “change” of mind by the mogul on this topic.


The contradicting versions occurred a few hours after Trump made public his first television commercial in the general election, which is to air in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania for ten days.

The commercial uses a dark look and and an off voice with a threatening tone to describe “a United States with Hillary Clinton, a system rigged against United States citizens, where Syrian refugees invade us and illegal immigrants that commit crimes are able to stay here, receiving benefits of social security and going around the line, with an open border.”


The commercial contains statistics from the known anti-immigrant “think tank,” Center for Immigration Studies, and assertions identified as false by media outlets such as the Washington Post this weekend, who gave “four pinocchios,” the highest measure of falsity, to the idea that undocumented immigrants collect social security.

In a statement, the group People for the American Way deplored the use of CIS, identifying the same ideas as “white nationalists” and that they tend to “distort the facts.” [La Opinión, 8/21/16]

Trump’s Recent Immigration Ad “Overtly” Cites Group That “Distribute[s] Essays From Holocaust Deniers”

Rachel Maddow: It's “Nuclear” That Trump Is “Overtly Citing” The Center For Immigration Studies In His First Campaign Ad. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow recently expanded on the background of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) by explaining that its founder John Tanton “drifts in and out of overt white supremacist circles and eugenics groups and continues to found and serve on the board of groups that advocate anti-immigrant policies.” She noted that CIS “will distribute essays from Holocaust deniers every now and again,” and “they keep finding themselves digesting and sending around work by white nationalists.” From the August 19 edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show:

RACHEL MADDOW (HOST): But John Tanton kept it up. It's been his life's work. He has founded lots and lots of different anti-immigrant groups over the years. And the two that have really stuck and really succeeded are a group called FAIR and a think-tank originally founded as a project of FAIR, called the Center for Immigration Studies. You ever heard that name before? Center for Immigration Studies? If you heard that name today, it's because that name, Center for Immigration Studies, appears on screen in the brand-new Donald Trump ad that came out today. Ten seconds into the 30-second ad. This is the first ad that Donald Trump has run in the general election and right out of the gate, he's citing the Center for Immigration Studies. The head of the Center for Immigration Studies has also met with Donald Trump during his campaign. His campaign has also bragged about that in print. The Center for Immigration Studies is part of this network of anti-immigrant groups that have been founded over the years by John Tanton that you see here. John Tanton has kept watchdog groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and People for the American Way very busy over several decades as they keep trying to point out his background, right, as they keep trying to remind people who he is, as he drifts in and out of overt white supremacist circles and eugenics groups and continues to found and serve on the board of groups that advocate anti-immigrant policies. And a lot of -- the reason those watchdog groups are so busy about him is that some of these John Tanton groups make a point of trying to make themselves seem very mainstream, very much like normal Republican and conservative organizations, but honestly they're all part of the same network, they're all founded by the same guy, and they never stay camouflaged for all that long. They end up reverting to form.

The Center for Immigration Studies, for example, will distribute essays from Holocaust deniers every now and again. Oops. They keep finding themselves digesting and sending around work by white nationalists. I mean, you get back to that dark side. You slip back into that really fast when you're circulating arguments like, “the native ethnic stock that founded and built the U.S. is systematically being replaced through massive third world immigration.” “Native ethnic stock.” For the first national Donald Trump ad of the presidential election to be overtly citing the Center for Immigration Studies, the John Tanton group, that's nuclear. [MSNBC, The Rachel Maddow Show, 8/19/16]

Southern Poverty Law Center: CIS Is Part Of The “Nativist Lobby,” And Has “Frequently Manipulated Data” To Misrepresent Immigrants. According to a 2009 report by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), CIS has been tied since its foundation to nativist organizations that have been listed as hate groups and the organization has “manipulated data” to push its anti-immigrant agenda:

CIS has never found any aspect of immigration that it liked, and it has frequently manipulated data to achieve the results it seeks. Its executive director last fall posted an item on the conservative National Review Online website about Washington Mutual, a bank that had earlier issued a press release about its inclusion on a list of “Business Diversity Elites” compiled by Hispanic Business magazine. Over a copy of the bank's press release, the CIS leader posted a headline -- “Cause and Effect?” -- that suggested a link between the bank's opening its ranks to Latinos and its subsequent collapse. [Southern Poverty Law Center, 1/31/09]