As expected, the Republican presidential primary field continues to grow. And with that growth comes each candidate's efforts to garner some attention, mostly in an effort to distinguish him or herself from the rest of the crowded field.
Much recent media coverage has focused on the coarse, inflammatory, and hurtful comments made by mogul-turned-reality-TV-star-turned-presidential-candidate Donald Trump. Mr. Trump opined during his campaign kickoff speech:
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with [sic] us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Despite that last qualification, Mr. Trump's comments have been resoundingly condemned, including by members of his own party. High-profile business partners of Trump's - including Univision and NBC - have severed business ties with him, and other candidates have taken him to task for being out of touch and insensitive.
One of Mr. Trump's most vocal critics has been former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who's married to a Mexican native, and who has confronted the issue directly as the Governor of a heavily-immigrant-populated state. having previously referred to his immigration reform plan as the GOP's "grown-up" approach to fixing a broken immigration. Yesterday, in Hudson, NH, Gov. Bush described a nuanced and comprehensive immigration vision, which included cracking down on so-called "sanctuary cities" while also supporting a path towards legalization (stopping short of endorsing citizenship). As for Mr. Trump's view, which also included a degrading tweet about Columba Bush, Gov. Bush said:
"You can love the Mexican culture, you can love your Mexican-American wife, and also believe that we need to control the border. [ ] This is a bizarre kind of idea that somehow you can have affection for people of a different country and not think the rule of law should apply."
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is also speaking about immigration on the campaign trail, taking aim at adverse effects of Mr. Trump's views on the republican Party as a whole:
“My party is in a hole with Hispanics — the first rule of politics when you’re in a hole is stop digging, and somebody needs to take the shovel out of Donald Trump’s hand.” Sen. Graham added that, “Most [Hispanics] are good hard-working people cleaning our toilets, picking the crops that we all enjoy, changing the beds and working three or four jobs in the shadows to try to keep their family afloat”.
The South Carolina Senator has also taken issue with Mr. Trump's claims of porous southern border security, highlighting his own foreign policy and national security experience in the U.S. Senate.
We are encouraged to see mainstream Republican candidates striking a more measured tone about the need for immigration reform, while acknowledging publicly that the immigrant community is overwhelmingly comprised of hardworking, family-oriented people who would "do things legally" if given the chance.
We'll keep sharing immigration-related information as election season heats up. If you support immigration reform, please contact your Senators and Congresspersons. Just go to http://whoismyrepresentative.com/ to find your representative with a couple of keystrokes.