The Campaign Politics of Immigration

Donald Trump, who is one of fifteen candidates seeking the Republican nomination for the presidency, doubled down on controversial comments he made nearly two weeks ago. In announcing his candidacy, Trump asserted that Mexican immigrants to the United States are disproportionately responsible for drug trafficking, rape, murder, and other crimes, asserting

When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

Trump’s comments were widely criticized as racist, triggering a wave of backlash. Univision, the largest Spanish-language broadcaster in the United States, cancelled its planned broadcast of Trump’s Miss Universe contest. NBC ended its business relationship with Trump, who had hosted The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice for the network. Macy’s cancelled its distribution of Trump’s clothing line. And the Republican Party sought to distance itself from Trump.

Trump’s comments highlight the difficulties posed by immigration from Mexico for the Republican Party. As it seeks to expand its reach into the Latino community, moderate Republicans have sought to develop positions that bring Latinos into the party. But Trump’s comments resonate with the more conservative Republican electorate that vote in the primary elections. Trump’s comments could also present challenges for a future Republican president in dealing with Mexico.

What do you think? How might Trump’s comments affect US-Mexican relations? Why?

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