A scandal is brewing in the immigrant rights movement after the president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), the oldest Latino civil rights group in America, sent a letter to Donald Trump thanking him for his far-right immigration proposal, which calls for huge increases in border security and steep cuts to legal immigration.
The letter appears on official LULAC letterhead and reads like an organizational endorsement. The only problem is, LULAC President Roger Rocha didn’t check in with his staff or the organization’s 145,000 members when he sent it.
“We at LULAC will continue to do our part in making your vision a reality,” Rocha wrote in the letter addressed to Trump.
This did not go well.
LULAC was founded in 1929 and is famous for filing the pioneering Mendez vs. Westminster lawsuit which ended segregation in California’s public schools. (The case preceded Brown v. Board of Education by about eight years.)
LULAC CEO Brent Wilkes told Splinter the organization was blindsided.
“Nobody had any idea that he was working on this and it certainly goes against the long-standing position of the organization,” he said.
LULAC’s national assembly has issued official resolutions opposing essentially every element in Trump’s proposal—including increased enforcement and detention centers, construction of Trump’s border wall, and changing the family reunification-based immigration system to a merit-based one.
Rocha had no idea his letter would be made public, according to Wilkes. It’s unclear who he sent it to and who made it available to the press. But it’s public now, and Republicans are celebrating the endorsement.
Rocha has made no public comment about his thinking behind the decision. Wilkes said he plans to retract his statements as early as tomorrow. “He can’t do it right now because he’s in transit,” Wilkes said.