Yesterday afternoon in Boulder, Colo., the site of tonight’s debate, a group of Latino leaders, including Alfonso Aguilar, Director of American Principle Project’s Latino Partnership and occasional contributor to The Pulse 2016, held a press conference. Aguilar stressed the idea that immigration is a “gateway issue” for the GOP to reach Hispanic voters, Aguilar said:
If Republicans cannot be constructive on the issue of immigration, Latino voters will not listen to our candidates when they address other issues — issues where the majority of Latino voters agree with us!
Additionally, the group of leaders warned GOP candidates to avoid discussing the issue of immigration with Trump-like rhetoric. Aguilar told the assembled press:
We are saying very clearly to the other candidates — don’t embrace the language of Mr. Trump. Stay away from those proposals that are bad policy that don’t reflect the best aspirations of our country. Immigration creates economic growth. Immigrants come into the country, expand the consumer base, increase economic activity, and help create better paying jobs for Americans. So for those who say immigration hurts the middle class — well, they’re wrong. If we want robust economic growth — over 4 percent economic growth, not this so-called ‘new normal’ — if we want better jobs for the American middle class, then we should be for immigration.
While Trump was the only candidate mentioned by name, and his inflammatory rhetoric was at the heart of the issue, the other candidates were issued a clear warning by Aguilar:
So to the candidates: we are monitoring what you say. We are monitoring what you propose. And we’re going to hold you accountable.
Joshua Pinho is a Digital Communications Associate for the American Principles Project.