“The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems,” Donald Trump, at the now-infamous June 2015 event.
They were a part of the electorate the Republican Party said it would set out to embrace in 2016 — but they were shoved away almost as soon as Donald Trump rode down the golden escalator at Trump Tower to announce he was running for President.
“The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems,” Trump said at the now-infamous June 2015 event.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
He then widened the net.
Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images
Republican front runner Donald Trump
“It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably — probably — from the Middle East. But we don’t know.”
And the push against immigrants and immigration reform by the leading GOP contenders has grown only more intense as the campaign has raged on, with Trump’s main rival, the Canadian-born Sen. Ted Cruz, backing his call to boot the country’s almost 12 million undocumented immigrants as quickly as possible.
Cruz last month also encouraged cops to patrol Muslim neighborhoods.
Trump said he wants illegal immigrants out of the country in two years — which the conservative think tank American Action Network estimated would cost at least $300 billion and be disastrous for the country’s bottom line.
Mayra Aldas, a newly minted U.S. citizen from Ecuador, will be voting in America for the first time in 2016.
“The candidates don’t have the facts right,” said Aldas, 32, who lives in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
“That’s one of the things that pushed me to become a citizen, because I wanted to vote in this election.”
It wasn’t supposed to be like this for the Republicans.
After losing the 2012 presidential election by 5 million votes, party leaders vowed to make changes.
A 2012 postmortem report by the Republican National Committee called for more outreach to the Hispanic community and a commitment to immigration reform.
“The Republican Party is one of tolerance and respect, and we need to ensure that the tone of our message is always reflective of these core principles,” its Growth and Opportunity Project report said.
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Demonstrators gather near Grand Central Station to protest against Donald Trump.
That tone went out the door with Trump’s entry into the race — the bombastic billionaire called for “a big, beautiful wall” to be built across the U.S.-Mexican border.
“When do we beat Mexico at the border? They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity,” he said, while promising he’d get the Mexican government to pay for the wall.
Terror attacks at home and abroad led the candidates to further take aim at foreigners. An attack by a Muslim couple in San Bernardino, Calif., in December led to Trump’s call for the U.S. to ban all Muslims from entering the country because one of the killers was a Pakistani who’d moved here in 2014. Trump called for a freeze “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”
Immigration lawyer Hassan Ahmad called that plan illegal and un-American.
Sen. Ted Cruz: Running close second to Donald Trump, including the inflammatory, anti-immigrant rhetoric
“It wouldn’t take long for the courts to make quick work of such a proposal,” he said.
Ahmad noted there are already strenuous screening programs in place for immigrants and refugees. The programs are designed to weed out potential terrorists, he said.
“If a would-be terrorist wanted to infiltrate the United States by coming as a refugee, that would be the dumbest way,” he said, noting he’d have to go through numerous screenings and the process could take up to three years.
“If there are red flags, the people aren’t let in,” he added.
National security experts have also taken aim at Trump’s proposals. In an unprecedented open letter last month, dozens of Republican security experts, including former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, blasted Trump’s plans.
“Controlling our border and preventing illegal immigration is a serious issue, but his insistence that Mexico will fund a wall on the southern border inflames unhelpful passions, and rests on an utter misreading of, and contempt for, our southern neighbor,” the letter said.
“His hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric undercuts the seriousness of combating Islamic radicalism by alienating partners in the Islamic world making significant contributions to the effort. Furthermore, it endangers the safety and constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of American Muslims.”
New York Daily News
Front page of the New York Daily News for December 4, 2015 about Syed Farook and the San Bernardino shootings.
As for booting all of the undocumented, immigration lawyer Ahmad said, “Economically, morally and legally, it’s a very bad idea.
“It’s also something that as a matter of practicality is not do-able.”
While the American Action Network found it could be done — if the feds increase immigration apprehension personnel from 4,844 positions to 90,582 positions; increase the number of immigration detention beds from 34,000 to 348,831; boost the number of immigration courts from 58 to 1,316, and increase the number of federal attorneys legally processing undocumented immigrants from 1,430 to 32,445 — Ahmad said it wouldn’t be that simple.
“Sometimes it can be very difficult to know whether someone actually has the right to be here,” he said. “We have due process in legal proceedings and the immigration courts. You want to make sure nobody’s rights are taken away. That’s the American way.”
Democrats on Immigration…
In the Democratic race for the White House, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have called for reform — and a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Aldas — who was undocumented when she first arrived in the United States 11 years ago — didn’t say who she planned to vote for, but made clear who she’s voting against.
“Candidates like Trump say we’re here to steal jobs, that’s not true; we don’t pay taxes, that’s not true,” said Aldas. “We provide jobs and we contribute. … I’m happy to be voting this year.”
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