President Trump’s attacks on immigrant communities continue to backfire in the court of public opinion. The American public, as it has for years, continues to strongly reject his anti-immigrant and divisive rhetoric and policies in key states like Arizona, Wisconsin, Texas, Florida and Georgia.
The closing weeks of the election have shown a clear contrast: stopping family separations at the border versus escalating attacks on families seeking asylum; more division versus an affirmative vision to build a humane, working immigration system centered on a pathway to citizenship.
Here are stories showing how immigration is showing up in the last few days in critical states:
- In Florida, the Trump Administration’s failure to provide humanitarian relief for thousands of Cubans, Venezuelans and Nicaraguans lawfully seeking asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border could harm him at the polls. The Trump Administration is actively turning away people seeking asylum and has opened deportation proceedings against more than 25,000 Cubans. Currently, there are 7,300 Cuban nationals stuck in Mexico waiting for a hearing in U.S. immigration courts. Between October 2019 and March 2020, over half of asylum petitions filed by Cuban and Nicaraguan asylum seekers were denied, and 45% of asylum claims made by Venezuelans were not granted. Further, according to the Herald, recent news reports show that Venezuelans have been removed from the United States via third-party countries, which could potentially be a violation of American law. The Administration also hasn’t granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to at least 200,000 Venezuelans, and a bipartisan bill granting Venezuelans TPS has been blocked by Republicans in the senate.
- “What has he done for the Cubans, here in the United States or in Cuba? Absolutely nothing. A lot of blah, blah, blah because now he’s looking for Cuban votes. And I am not lending myself for that,” said Manny Díaz, former City of Miami mayor, who is part of a group of prominent Cuban business leaders who want to mobilize fellow Hispanics to punish President Trump with their vote for his Administration’s treatment of Venezuelan, Cuban, Nicaraguan, and other asylum seekers.
- In 2016, immigration was among the most defining aspects of Trump’s campaign. Four years later, the issue is backfiring against him. In the key battleground state of Arizona, for example, the voters most focused on immigration are those who are terrified by the prospect of a second term for Trump, according to the Times. In the years since Trump took office, voters have grown markedly more positive on immigration. In a June Pew Research Center poll, 28 percent of Americans said illegal immigration was a big problem, down from 43 percent last year. That included less than half of Republicans, compared to two-thirds the previous year. In Arizona, Latinos are expected to make up at least 25 percent of all voters for the first time.
- “Everything has changed now,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, whose parents emigrated from Sonora, Mexico, with her older siblings. “But if anything, it has made the public sentiment shift in our favor. People here understand that we need people to come from Mexico to fuel our economy. People here understand more and more that this is about a strength, not a threat.”
- Arizona – once a bastion of American conservatism – has morphed into a solid battleground state, with Joe Biden slightly leading Trump. In the final stretch of the election, Latino voters in Arizona are flocking to the polls, animated by battles against the anti-undocumented immigrant SB1070 bill and anger toward former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who illegally profiled Latinos and later lost his bid for a U.S. senate seat after coming in dead last in the GOP primary. In 2016, Trump won Arizona by just 3.5 points — or a little over 91,000 votes. According to Mi Familia Vota, 103,000 Latinx people in Arizona reached voting age between 2018 and 2020 alone. The New York Times/Siena’s final poll of Arizona released Sunday found Biden at 66 percent support among Latinos, compared with Trump’s 26 percent.
- The Trump Administration’s child separation policy and its bungled handling of Hurricane Maria and the destruction in Puerto Rico is peeling away a growing electorate of Latino voters in Wisconsin. From 2000 to 2015, Wisconsin’s population grew by 405,000, and Latinos, who total nearly 400,000 in Wisconsin, accounted for roughly 46% of that growth, according to a Department of Health Service report.