Even today, there is still no consensus among Latinos. In 2018, for example, 58.5 percent of Latino voters said they supported Trump’s immigration policies even though they disliked the president. Over 50 percent of respondents want stronger immigration laws, while only 18.3 percent said that current immigration law was too strict. Furthermore, in a recent Washington Post survey, 69 percent of Latinos favored shutting down almost all immigration amid the coronavirus pandemic. There is also the issue of law and order, which is high among Latinos’ concerns in the aftermath of this summer’s riots. In an early-June poll conducted by ABC News/Ipsos, 54 percent of Latino Democrats supported sending in the military to restore order in cities, and 60 percent of all Latino voters were amenable to military presence. What do these figures have to do with Trump’s immigration policies? Upholding law and order in cities is not entirely different from upholding law and order on the border, and Latinos who support law-enforcement agencies and the military intervening in cities might prefer that the border be secured and that immigrants enter the country legally. As stated earlier, historically, this was the case in California.
The idea that all immigrants, Latinos, and blacks are guaranteed to vote for Democrats in the long term is a delusion, as is the idea that all Latino voters are driven away from the GOP because of Trump’s immigration policy and his “xenophobic” rhetoric. Now more than ever, citizens are privy to the media’s hysteria about white supremacy, and Trump’s past comments about illegal immigrants seem completely irrelevant during a pandemic, recession, and season of rioting. If Republicans want to be the party of law and order that broadly appeals to all demographics, then perhaps they shouldn’t be equivocal on the issue of illegal immigration.