Some political pundits may not take Donald Trump’s chances of winning the Republican nomination seriously, but it appears many outside the United States are. Although poverty and gang-related violence have been the primary reasons for Mexicans and Central Americans to cross the U.S. border, a new catalyst has emerged: the anti-immigrant rhetoric of Donald Trump.
Despite being once ridiculed by many in the U.S., Trump’s rise in the Republican polls hasn’t gone unnoticed, and is believed to be the cause of an increase of migrants—including children without guardians—trying to enter the country. Multiple interviews with migrants, border and immigration officials, as well as people smugglers show several migrants are racing to cross now before Trump or another GOP candidate wins the November elections and imposes tougher border policies.
Isaias Franco, a 46-year-old El Salvador native, believes that, “If Trump wins, we’re all screwed and all Latinos are screwed.” Franco was recently deported from the United States and is waiting for an opportunity to return.
As with many migrants, Franco has been keeping an eye on the race for the presidency in the U.S., and knows of Trump’s promise to deport all undocumented immigrants and build a wall along the border—a structure he plans to have the Mexican government pay for. He watches the news, and knows that Latinos fear a Republican victory, which could stop any proposed reforms from giving protection to immigrants.
This sentiment is echoed by Blanca Rivera, manager of the Ciudad Juarez migrant shelter, who noticed a recent spike in the number migrants, which she blames on all the inflammatory anti-immigrant talk by the presidential candidates. The general belief among migrants, she said, is an urgency to cross while they still can.
Reports from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) show that more than 150,000 migrants were arrested while trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border between October 2015 and February 2016—an increase of 24% from the same period last year.
Trump Presidency Not Farfetched?
With Trump taking a commanding lead in the Republican primaries, GOP lawmakers are preparing for the eventuality of nominating the controversial billionaire, who has energized the conservative base for his tough immigration stance. He’s made no qualms about claiming Mexico is killing the American economy by flooding the U.S. with cheap labor, as well as “criminals” and “racists.” One of his incendiary remarks is a plan to build a wall along the border and to have a temporary ban on Muslims from entering the country.
And although Trump has been the loudest candidate, his fellow GOP candidates don’t exactly hold opposite views, calling for tighter controls over the flow of migrants from Central American countries.
If you or a loved one has concerns about what a Republican administration could mean for immigrants in the U.S., learn about your rights from Lyttle Law Firm today. Schedule a consult by calling our offices at 512-215-5225 or by visiting our website.