Immigration Reform News Today: Conservative Leaders Challenge GOP Presidential Candidates to Support Reform
May 25, 2017
Hispanic Republican leaders warn Donald Trump, other candidates to change their rhetoric
May 25, 2017

BOULDER, Colo. — Donald Trump is taking heat from Hispanic conservative activists ahead of his appearance at the third Republican presidential debate Wednesday.

The celebrity real estate tycoon has been atop polls for the GOP nomination for three months, despite a summer laden with controversy over his remarks on immigrants.

Some Hispanic groups who are supportive of Republicans are now openly blasting the businessman, and putting other candidates on notice to stay away from his rhetoric.

“We believe that if Donald Trump is the GOP nominee, none of us will support him, none of us will help him engage the Hispanic community,” Alfonso Aguilar, director of American Principles Project’s Latino Partnership, told The Hill ahead of the debate.

“We are ostracizing him,” he added.

Aguilar and leaders from several other Hispanic conservative groups met privately Tuesday afternoon in Boulder, the site of the debate, to discuss Trump’s positions on immigration.

“Heed our warning: Don’t expect us to come to your side during the general election. If you are not with us now, we will not be with you then,” former Treasury Secretary Rosario Marin, an official in the George W. Bush administration, said during a press conference Tuesday.

Ending birthright citizenship and discussing a mass deportation of the around 12 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. were key issues where Trump has failed, Aguilar said.

The groups stopped short of naming other candidates with similar positions to Trump, such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has largely embraced Trump during the 2016 campaign.

“We are concerned. We’re more than concerned — we’re angry with the rhetoric and tone some candidates are using,” Aguilar said, alluding to other GOP candidates besides Trump.

The groups acknowledge that party officials may not like them going after a front-runner.

“They’re afraid, and that’s fine,” Aguilar said.

Other groups present Tuesday included the Hispanic Leadership Fund and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, among others.

Organizers acknowledged the importance of raising the issue in Colorado, a state with a growing Hispanic population the GOP hopes to put into play again in 2016.

Barack Obama won Colorado twice, in 2008 against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and in 2012 against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The coalition will hold its next meeting Dec. 14, on the eve of the final GOP debate of the year in Las Vegas, where they may call out other candidates for their positions on immigration.

“We are going to continue monitoring what they are saying,” Aguilar said of the candidates.

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