Donald Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric has mobilized Latino activists from both sides of the political aisle to take a stand against his inflammatory language.
But as GOP challengers Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio gain in the polls, Latino groups are starting to expand the focus of their criticism.
Ahead of the fifth Republican debate Tuesday night in Las Vegas, the Latino Victory Project, a Democratic-leaning get-out-the-vote organization, held a forum in Nevada to take a closer look at what a Cruz and Rubio presidency could mean for Latinos. In a separate gathering, Republican Latinos also expressed concerns about a Cruz candidacy.
Here's a look at some of those concerns, in their own words:
“Rubio and Cruz may not always echo the same hateful rhetoric as Donald Trump, but their policies are very similar. They would significantly harm the financial security, stability and health of Latinos across the country. What they say may be different, but what they would do is not dissimilar. Thanks to Donald Trump, Rubio and Cruz are getting a pass on their policy positions, since they don’t say as many crazy, racist things.”
-Cristobal Alex, president of the Latino Victory Project
"We are very united. We don't want to elect just any Republican. We want to promote someone we think will respond to the Hispanic community and conservative principles."
-Alfonso Aguilar, director of the conservative think tank America Principle Project's Latino Partnership
“I’m a dreamer. I benefitted from President Obama’s executive action and it’s completely changed my life. I’ve been able to go to school and pay for education and help my family because my parents are still undocumented. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have told us they don’t support DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). My brother, who is a U.S. citizen is watching and listening to what they’re saying, because he knows it will affect our parents.
-Erika Castro, DREAMER and community organizer
“Marco Rubio was here in Nevada and told us to our faces that he’d take DACA away. I benefit from DACA, so this scares me. That’s what all three of them are talking about. Trump, Rubio, Cruz—they’re all the same."
-Astrid Silva, DREAMER and immigration activist
“Our Latino community understands it isn’t just about potentially having a Latino president, you have to do the research and find out what candidate supports the best policies. The next president needs the Latino vote. If they keep insulting us, they’re not going to get our support.”
-Katherine Lorenzo, immigration activist with Mi Familia Vota, a Latino advocacy group
“There are a lot of young Latinos who have DACA recipient parents who are going to be turning 18 years old. We’re going to be there to register them to vote.”
-Marco Rauda, an activist with Mi Familia Vota