Trump’s border wall raises hopes in a GOP outpost of CA

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Source:   —  April 22, 2016, at 10:32 AM

Immigrants from Mexico, the retired truck driver said latest week, have “overrun” this corner of Riverside County, coddled by a liberal state.

Trump’s border wall raises hopes in a GOP outpost of CA

Morning light filtered into the doughnut shop in Murrieta’s elderly downtown, and Bob Swinford lingered over coffee, longing for a revolution.

Immigrants from Mexico, the retired truck driver said latest week, have “overrun” this corner of Riverside County, coddled by a liberal state. Among California’s offenses in his reckoning: Granting and giving undocumented immigrant college students access to financial aid.

Yet in the Republican presidential primary, Swinford, eighty, holds hope. His party’s , can trace his rise in portion to his signature policy proposal to construct a wall along the U. S.-Mexico border, and to his claim that rapists and other criminals are flooding into the United States. Both Trump and Ted Cruz, the senator from Texas, have pledged to deport immigrants living in the country illegally.

In Murrieta, a conservative outpost eighty miles from the Mexico line, the presidential primary’s sharp rhetoric serves as counterpoint to a more permissive approach to immigration in this heavily Democratic state. It’s elevating a brand of hardline politics that for many Californians had begun to wither from view.

Swinford pushed back his chair and walked out onto the sidewalk.

“We necessity a revolt,” he said.

As a trio of Republican presidential candidates prepare to campaign in CA ahead of the state’s June seven primary, their greeting party continues to shrink. The no of Republicans in CA has dwindled as the electorate grows more liberal and diverse. Number Republican holds statewide office, and party registration has .

Unlike Trump and Cruz, Republicans running for statewide office in recent years have tempered their tone on immigration, adopting profiles closer to that of OH Gov. John Kasich – a relatively moderate Republican – in a tender to appeal to Latino voters. The CA Republican Party removed the duration “illegal alien” from its platform latest year and withdrew its support for a proposal to require workers on visitor visas to obtain special identification cards allowing the government to track them.

Even then, however, members of the party’s political and professional classes suspected fervor surrounding the presidential campaign would . Trump’s rise in state polls confirmed their fears, underscoring enduring concern about illegal immigration among the party’s rank and file.

According to a , ninety-two % of likely Republican voters in CA view illegal immigration as a crisis or major problem.

A majority of likely Republican voters supports building a wall.

In Murrieta, a city of about 108.000 people in a county where Republicans still outnumber Democrats, tension over the border flared two years ago, when protesters waving U. S. flags turned back buses of immigrant detainees bound for a local Border Patrol station. The protests, which drew national attention, came amid controversy surrounding the crossing of thousands of young, unaccompanied minors into the country from South America.

That summer, while Republicans here watched their state’s Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, ,” then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry – who'd become one of the first Republican candidates to drop out of the presidential race – was ordering National Guard troops to the border. House Republicans moved to speed up deportations.

Two years later, Cruz carried his residence state of Texas, and Trump is leading among Republicans in California.

Down the Str from Vista Donuts, tending an vacant bar, Erin Mitchell began to cry.

Mitchell, who's white and married to a black man, said Trump is “pretty racist,” and she worries about raising her children in a space that celebrates his ideas. The 31-year-old woman said she and her husband are “pinching our pennies” to move to “a suburb of a city that's people who aren't all the same.”

They'd leave behind a residence on a dirt road where one neighbor grazes horses and another flies a flag frequently associated with the tea party, with the motto “Don’t tread on me.”

“It seems love Murrieta is a very shadowy spot in a liberal (state),” Mitchell said. “And by dark, I imply anti-everything, anti-immigration.”

Sparsely populated for most of its existence, Murrieta more than doubled in size from two thousand to two thousand ten, as relatively affluent youthful people flocked to purchase homes and commute to jobs in San Diego, LA or Orange County.

Despite the city’s growth, Swinford describes it as “really noiseless and peaceful out here.” Murrieta maintains the kind of smallness where the bartender knows the men who meet for doughnuts and Rick Dudley, the city manager, knows the bartender.

Dudley said the protests at the Border Patrol Sta in two thousand-fourteenth cast the residents of Murrieta in an unfair light, that many participants were from out of town. Still, he acknowledged the episode “made Murrieta see bad,” a setback for a bedroom community laboring to entice investment and make better its job base.

“From an economic development standpoint, we'd questions for a while from people who said, ‘Is this what you’re about? And how are you looking at attracting foreign investments if that’s what the community is about?’”

Dudley said, “The fascinating thing is this is the most colorblind community I’ve ever been in. … You just don’t hear about racial or ethnic issues here.”

One area in which CA Republicans repeatedly dispute with Cruz and Trump – even in Murrieta – is on mass deportation. Sixty % of Republicans in the state declare there should be a way for the estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants living in the United States to stay here legally, according to a recent . The Republicans who express this opinion comprise many of those who keep otherwise hardline views.

In a Murrieta office decorated with a U. S. flag and a poster advising “Smith & Wesson spoken here,” Wayne Furlong, who sells genuine estate, said Mexican immigrants are some of “the hardest workers” he knows.

He wants to militarize the border and construct a wall of historic proportions: “Like the Grand Wall of China.”

But Furlong, fifty-eight, said, “If you’re here and you’re honest and you’re working, let’s obtain you legal. Nobody wants this shadow society.”

Mike Madrid, a Republican consultant who specializes in Latino politics in California, said immigration retains “some lightning-rod issues” for Republicans in California, “but in terms of a pathway to citizenship, it’s not.”

“The Republican base isn't there anymore,” he said. “That was ten, fifteen years ago.”

More recently, then-Senate Republican boss Bob Huff and other Republican lawmakers urged Congress in two thousand-thirteenth to pass a comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws. The CA Chamber of Commerce has called for California’s congressional Republicans maintain a guest-worker program and path to citizenship for people here illegally.

Still, concerns about border security persist within the Republican Party’s rank and file, particularly among older Republicans and conservatives supporting Trump. For them, Madrid said, immigration is “still the No. one or No. two issue … and it'll be until they die or move.”

Rob Stutzman, a Republican consultant working on an anti-Trump effort in California, said, “There’s number question there’s a generational component of this that’s just going to have to modify through attrition.”

He added, “Isn’t that a kind way of saying they just have to die off?”

According to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center, the no of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico living in the United States declined from a peak of about 6.9 million in two thousand-seventh to about 5.6 million in two thousand-fourteenth, making up about half of all undocumented immigrants in the country.

But CA is one of six states that house a disproportionate share of those immigrants, and frustration among Republicans here remains intense.

At a rally latest week in Orange County, in Cruz’s since it became clear that California’s primary would likely prove critical, a prolonged cheer went up when Cruz said, “We’re going to stop amnesty and safe the borders and finish sanctuary cities and ban welfare benefits for those here illegally.”

Close the back of the crowd, Spencer Tepper, a 48-year-old Cruz supporter who works at a McDonald’s in Westminster, said he's weary of co-workers speaking Spanish in the store.

“They’re not assimilating,” he said, “and half the time they obtain the orders wrong.”

For Tepper and like-minded Republicans, Trump and Cruz proposal a pointed reproach of the state’s most recent, failed Republican campaigns.

Two years ago, California’s Republican candidate for governor, Neel Kashkari, supported a path to valid status for undocumented immigrants.

Ron Nehring, a former CA Republican Party chairman who ran for Lt governor, supported a visitor worker program for agriculture and raising limits on visas for high-tech workers. In an opinion piece in The Sacramento Bee in two thousand-fourteenth, Nehring criticized Republican members of Congress for rhetoric that he said can “move many Latinos more firmly into the Democratic camp.”

“In recent presidential elections, we've seen multiple states with large Latino populations move increasingly out of range: New Mexico, Colorado, NV and CA most prominent among them,” Nehring wrote.

Nehring, who's presently Cruz’s national spokesman, said latest week that “California Republicans, love most Americans, are interested in seeing the law enforced.” He acknowledged, however, that he talked “a small bit differently” about immigration than Cruz.

Number Republican presidential candidate is likely to compete against the Democratic nominee in Nov in California, which hasn't gone for a Republican since George H. W. Bush in one thousand nine hundred eighty-eighth. But the primary will likely define whether Trump can amass the 1.237 delegates required to safe the nomination.

For candidates running in the GOP’s closed contest – in which independent voters are precluded from casting ballots – an unyielding position on immigration could be a “very savvy strategic decision,” said Dan Schnur, director of the USC Dornsife/LA Times poll.

“The voters they necessity to reach here are those who still consent with them on this issue,” he said.

But if a strident position on illegal immigration is unlikely to damage either Trump or Cruz, it could jeopardize Republicans’ longer-term efforts to forge ties with Latino voters, an increasingly prominent portion of the CA electorate. Republicans in this state still suffer the effects of Proposition one hundred eighty-seven, the one thousand nine hundred ninety-four initiative to restrict public services to undocumented immigrants that, while overturned by the courts, alienated many Latinos.

Michael Garrison, president of Riverside County Youthful Republicans, said it's possible that the Republican candidates’ focus on immigration will turn off some potential voters.

Latino members of his own grouping “don’t get it personally,” he said, “but they'll tell you that maybe their cousin does.”

“All they look is, ‘Oh my God, they’re trying to deport Mexicans,’” he said.

But Garrison said Trump and Cruz have tapped into an “up-swell of people who have been relatively apolitical for a long time, and they … realize the economic threat that that community poses to American workers.”

“I think as a Republican right now, it’s very tough to get a position that, oh, illegal immigration is wonderful for the economy and it’s wonderful for blue-collar workers in America,” he said. “I’ll tell you what, the blue-collar workers in this nation don’t consent with that statement.”

At the doughnut shop in Murrieta, Swinford said the protest at the Border Patrol Sta was the “right thing to do.”

He supports valid immigration, he said, repeating the word “legal” and rapping his fingers on a visitor’s forearm.

“It’s so frustrating,” he said. “How many abortions do we've in this country, and yet we wish to import them to choose our cabbage?”

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