Trump-bashing of Mexican immigrants: bad for US, worse for GOP

Despite what many conservatives think, the immigrant vote is up for grabs. But if we continue to bash immigrants, à la Donald Trump, it won’t be up for grabs for long.

Carolyn Kaster/AP
Protesters gather outside the new Trump hotel, in Washington on Thursday to protest Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his portrayal of Mexican immigrants as criminals.

Donald Trump has gotten a lot of political mileage by bashing Mexican immigrants, calling the lot of them rapists.

His comments have sparked a backlash against his business interests. The PGA pulled their championship tournament from a Trump golf course. NBC finally severed all ties from him. A celebrity chef decided not to open a new restaurant in a new Trump Hotel.

The backlash against Trump has caused a backlash among conservatives, pushing the Donald up in the polls.

Trump seized on the murder of a beautiful young woman in San Francisco by an illegal immigrant (the killer claims it was an accident) to draw more attention to his bold anti-immigrant position.

Trump then claimed that he would win the Latino vote, despite his nasty comments. He claimed that if he were elected president, he would convince the Mexican government to pay for a higher wall between our countries.

You can say one thing about Donald Trump: He makes for good copy.

In the meantime, America’s biggest state (economically) just announced that it had more Hispanics than whites, just as its governor condemned Republican "troglodytes" on climate change.

That governor, of course, is a Democrat, Jerry Brown of California.

Some conservatives believe that if we continue to allow more immigrants into the country that those immigrants will vote Democratic and that the conservative movement will be marginalized.

Actually, the immigrant vote is up for grabs. But if we continue to bash immigrants, à la Donald Trump, it won’t be up for grabs for long.

I have been accused of being for amnesty.

That’s not true. I do want comprehensive immigration reform because I think it increases economic growth, reduces crime, gets people out of the shadows, increases wages, attracts talent to our shores, and secures the border.

Comprehensive immigration reform would solve the problem of sanctuary cities.

Major metropolitan areas in this country should not summarily decide to ignore our immigration laws. But because they are dominated largely by Democrats, “sanctuary” cities have done exactly that, undermining the rule of law in pursuit of votes from liberal interest groups.

Comprehensive immigration reform would include the following: a path to legalization for all who currently live here; better use of technology to make the border more secure; more green cards and work visas for seasonal workers; more hi-tech visas for engineers (unless they are taking jobs away from American workers), possibly a path to citizenship for those who pay fines, have jobs, and pay taxes.

The debate over immigration is not new.

This has been going on since before the beginning of the Republic.

Some Indians embraced the new settlers from the Old World, but others were bitterly opposed to them.

The Irish faced racial hostility when they flooded in after the potato famine. So did the Italians, the Jews, the Chinese, the Japanese, and later, the Vietnamese.

But each ethnic group who has come to America has made the country a better place to live.

Bashing Mexicans might give Donald Trump a short-term political bump.

But long term, that kind of rhetoric is politically disastrous for the Republican Party and bad for the country at large.

It’s fine to have a discussion about the problems facing our immigration system and possible solutions to fix them.

It’s politically misguided and morally wrong to make sweeping generalizations about an important and growing segment of our population.

John Feehery publishes his Feehery Theory blog at http://www.thefeeherytheory.com/.

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