GOP Platform’s Endorsement Of Trump’s Border Wall Could Bury Hopes For Latino Vote
The Republican Party as a whole endorsed one of presumptive Presidential nominee Donald Trump’s most controversial proposals: the construction of an impenetrable 2,000-mile wall along the border with Mexico.
In preparation for next week’s Republican Convention, members of the draft committee amended the initial draft of the platform, which favored a “physical barrier” along the U.S. border with Mexico, to specifically call for building a “wall.”
In its final draft, the platform, which is expected to be approved by the full Republican National Committee at the party’s convention in Ohio, supports a “border wall” that would cover “the entirety of the Southern Border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic.”
Trump says he wants a human-proof wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to keep Mexicans–who he has called criminals and “rapists”–out.
The inclusion of the wall in the platform is likely to further turn the Latino vote away from Trump. Despite his assertion that “Latinos love me,” a June ABC/Washington Post poll found that 89% of Hispanic voters viewed him negatively.
The wall is not supported by prominent GOP figures. The “tragedy” of Trump’s nomination is that “there isn’t going to be a wall built” and “Mexico’s not going to pay for it,” former Florida Governor Jeb Bush told MSNBC Monday, noting that “it’s like an alternative universe he [Trump] created.”
The construction of a border wall, which was adopted by the GOP in marathon sessions Monday and Tuesday according to media reports, would jettison decades of friendly relations with Mexico by ignoring the economic, cultural, historic and geographic links that tie the two countries together.
“By doubling down on the wall, they sadly adopt Trump’s fact-free visions of what the border looks like today… If applied, this would be a self-inflicted wound that would hamper U.S. long-term interests,” Arturo Sarukhan, Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. under the Calderón Administration, told me.
Sarukhan regretted that the platform not only veers to the right of many of the party’s previous policy platforms on trade and immigration, “but also ignores the realities of a broken U.S. immigration system and the voices of conservatives who continue to call for commonsense immigration reforms.”
The platform does not address who would pay for the wall, but Trump, who has made building the wall a cornerstone of his campaign, has assured voters that it would be subsidized by the Mexican government. ”Trust me, Mexico will pay,” Trump repeatedly says.
The idea that Mexico would pay for a blatant monument to anti-Mexican hostility defies all logic.
The government of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has repeatedly rejected Trump’s charade. In an interview with CNN, Peña Nieto said on Sunday that there is “no way” his country would ever pay for a wall.
But Trump thinks otherwise. In April, Trump proposed a plan to change a rule under the USA Patriot Act, an antiterrorism law, to impound a portion of the funds–known as remittances–sent to Mexico by millions of undocumented workers in the U.S.
Last year, Mexico’s Central Bank reported that Mexican remittances were $24.8 billion.
Mexican officials have made no secret of their strong animosity toward Trump. During a press conference at the North America Leaders’ Summit in Canada last month with President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Peña Nieto compared Trump to Hitler and Mussolini.