On one level, the views of President-elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Secretary appear to be aligned with his boss’s focus on securing the border. Kelly also supports enhanced border security, but he believes that a wall is not going to stop people from coming here. In Senate testimony early last year, he said that, “addressing the root causes of insecurity and instability is not just in the region’s interests, but ours as well.”
His more holistic approach to the region’s problems may clash with immigration hardliners that Trump has surrounded himself with. For them, it is sufficient to enforce immigration laws and to build barriers to keep people out.
How will Kelly’s more nuanced views about migration translate to DHS policy towards the women and children who Kelly knows are fleeing violence and instability? How will his views shape the treatment of millions of undocumented immigrants who are today so much a part of our communities?
A group that favors a hard line towards both legal and illegal immigration released a document with transition ideas for the incoming administration. There was nothing new in the document, which laid out the same extreme views that have mostly been on the margins of the immigration debate. What is new is the receptivity of those nominated to hold key posts with jurisdiction over immigration policy.
The dark views of the incoming president and his team make it very likely that restrictionist and extreme views on immigration will now be taken seriously. Their energy will be focused on preventing immigrants from coming to this country and on removing those who can be removed. Whether the president-elect spends more time and energy on immigration is unclear, however those he is putting in positions of power will no doubt keep their sights focused on these goals. Their views are antithetical to those of a welcoming, inclusive America where the success of all will be critical to our continued prosperity.
Read more comparing the views of some of President-elect Trump’s nominees with those of the anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform on my post on Immigration Impact.
In the previous post, I examined some details of voter turnout nationally and in some closely-contested states, and concluded that, although Trump won the election due to the strength of support from white voters, he did not actually bring in new voters to any great extent, and he actually received fewer votes overall, nationally, than Mitt Romney did in 2012. The decrease in turnout for Clinton, especially in key states, played a far more significant role in this election.
To get that white support, however, Trump used rhetoric that alienated a lot of voters, and this may cost the GOP in future elections. The next election may not feature the same depressed turnout as this one did. As mentioned previously, swing state results were very close, and nationally, while final results are not completely tallied, Clinton is ahead in the popular vote count by nearly 1.5 million votes.
In the next presidential election, there will be fewer white voters and more minorities. Trump showed hostility toward minorities in this election, making the Republican Party unattractive to this growing share of the electorate. Today we’ll look at the votes of the fastest-growing segment of the electorate, Latinos.
The just completed presidential election was, for Donald Trump, a test of the hypothesis that all you need to win are the votes of the shrinking white majority. It worked for him this year. But what Trump did to get those white votes put the Republican Party in a weaker position for future presidential elections.
In this and in upcoming posts, I take a look at election returns with these questions in mind. Did Trump succeed in turning out out a lot of new white voters? How did his divisive rhetoric affect his performance among voters in a portion of the electorate that will be larger in future elections (among Latinos, in particular)? What are the implications for the GOP?
Trump won fewer votes than Romney
This election wasn’t so much about Trump reaching a previously untapped white audience and getting them to the polls. It was more about Democratic constituencies not voting in the numbers of the previous two elections.
Last month, I wrote about how Donald Trump has polled among Latinos over the past year. His pronouncements on immigration and Mexican immigrants have made him very unpopular with Latinos. While Trump almost seems to relish turning people against him, his Latino problem goes beyond damage to his campaign—it is affecting the way Latinos view the Republican Party. Trump is not exactly an ambassador for the party. In this post, I’ll look back over the past year’s worth of polling of Latinos in the U.S., and focus on attitudes towards the GOP.
The first poll of Latino voters that was released after Trump’s campaign launch was conducted by Univision Notices and was partially conducted prior to Trump’s speech. The majority of respondents (52%) questioned prior to Trump’s campaign launch already had an unfavorable view of the Republican Party. However, the party’s unfavorable rating ticked up after Trump made his announcement—to 56 percent. In this survey, 92 percent of respondents said they thought the immigration issue was “very” (72 percent) or “somewhat” (20 percent) important in considering their vote. A majority (52 percent) said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who opposed legalizing undocumented immigrants.
On June 23, the Supreme Court deadlocked 4-4 in a case brought by the state of Texas and 25 other states against President Obama’s executive action that would have temporarily protected from deportation the undocumented parents of U.S. citizen children. At issue as well was an expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). (The original DACA program, which has successfully protected hundreds of thousands of young people, was not the subject of this litigation.) As a result of the deadlock, a lower court’s temporary injunction against the executive actions remains in place.
The decision was an extreme disappointment for advocates for immigrants and for about five million undocumented immigrants who have lived here for many years, working and raising their families in a legal limbo.
The Supreme Court’s decision was a victory for the Republican governors and attorneys general who brought the lawsuit, and it demonstrated that shopping for the right judge can bring the desired decision. (That, and having a Senate that has stopped doing its job, refusing to consider the President’s nominee for the Supreme Court, making a 4-4 deadlock possible.)
It was a bit over a year ago that Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency with his now famous tirade against Mexican immigrants. Out of the gate, Trump alienated a rapidly-growing constituency—Latinos. In the first public opinion survey of Latino voters after Trump’s entry into the race, conducted by Univision Noticias in June and July of last year, 71 percent of respondents said their view of Trump was unfavorable. In a matchup with Hillary Clinton, just 16 percent of Latinos said they would vote for Trump.
So, what’s happened in the year during which Trump has gone from being a candidate to being the presumptive nominee?
Another survey in July of 2015 of Latino adults, conducted by The Washington Post-ABC News, showed that 81 percent of Latinos viewed trump unfavorably. 64 percent of respondents in this poll had strongly unfavorable views of Trump.
In September, NBC News and the Wall Street Journal conducted a national poll with an oversample of Latinos, and 72 percent of those Latinos said they had negative feelings towards Trump, with 65 percent having strongly negative feelings. This poll showed an uptick in support for Trump in a matchup with Clinton—a whopping 17 percent said they would vote for Trump.
Senator Jeff Session (R-AL) has been the Senate’s leading opponent of comprehensive immigration reform. He now chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee Immigration Subcommittee. On April 9, Senator Sessions published an opinion piece in the Washington Post, laying out his case against legal immigration.
During the immigration reform debates in previous congresses, Mr. Sessions has been an ardent opponent of giving our long-resident undocumented immigrants a way to gain legal status. In this piece, he touts his opposition to legal immigrants as well.
As is typical of immigration restrictionists, Mr. Sessions cloaks his anti-immigrant inclinations in arguments supporting the American worker. Let’s look at a couple of those arguments.
With Congress abandoning its policy-making responsibility for immigration, policy-making initiative now rests with the executive, the states, localities, and the courts.
While Washington has been preoccupied with a fight over the president’s Executive Actions on Immigration, there is more activity on the immigration front than the president’s decrees. That activity is happening in 50 states, and in many more communities.
On March 29, Julia Preston of The New York Times wrote a nice summary of how immigration policy in this country diverges greatly among the states. She contrasts the lives of two undocumented women—one in Washington, which has enacted policies that are welcoming to immigrants, including one allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses, and one in Texas, which has brought a lawsuit against the president to stop his immigration executive actions.
In general, states are divided by where immigrants live. States with significant immigrant populations, including significant populations of undocumented immigrants, tend to be more welcoming. The integration of undocumented immigrants is important to them. It is good for their economies. States with smaller immigrant populations tend to be less welcoming, and it is these states that have joined the Texas lawsuit against the president’s welcoming policies.
On March 4, President Obama signed legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security for the remainder of the fiscal year ending September 30. The legislation had previously passed the Senate (on February 27) and the House followed on March 3rd—but only, after weeks of chaotic brinksmanship during which the most conservative members of the Republican caucus demanded that DHS not be funded until President Obama’s executive action on immigration was overturned.
Technically, the House voted to “recede” to the Senate’s position on not going to a House/Senate conference committee and to “concur” with the Senate bill.
House bill fails in Senate
The scene was set on January 14, when the House passed, along party lines, a DHS funding bill that contained provisions to roll back the president’s executive actions on immigration. The bill then went over to the Senate, where it is much more difficult to pass bills that are strictly partisan. Indeed, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted four times to bring the House bill to the floor of the Senate, but lost a procedural vote each time. On February 27, the day DHS funding was due to expire, the Senate considered a funding bill stripped of the controversial House provisions, and it passed in a bipartisan 68 – 31 vote.