Richmond, VA — As a candidate in 2016, Trump ran on an overtly xenophobic platform, beginning his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants “rapists” and “criminals” and claiming that an American judge of Mexican ancestry could not adjudicate a suit against him fairly.
As president, Donald Trump has kept up his harmful rhetoric, but more importantly, he has cruelly sought out policies that target the immigrant community, hitting Virginia’s families particularly hard. From seeking to ban Muslims from entering the country, to trying to end the DACA program, to increasing the separation of families at the border, Trump’s inhumane administration has left families in crisis.
“The president’s immigration policies are a crisis for Virginia’s families. Thousands of young people fear deportation, families are separated, and communities are struggling with an increase in hate crimes because of the President’s rhetoric and policies. Our Commonwealth is less safe and worse off economically because of Trump’s hateful immigration policies,” said DPVA Communications Director Grant Fox.
In September of 2017, Donald Trump announced that he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that protects over 700,000 young immigrants known as Dreamers from deportation, even after repeatedly promising Dreamers he would protect them. Despite a Supreme Court ruling against his actions, Trump has doubled down on his attempt to rescind the program. His administration has already started blocking new DACA applicants from receiving protections.
Virginia has one of the largest populations of DACA recipients in the country, with nearly 10,000 people in the program. Data from the Center from American Progress shows that DACA recipients pay $5.7 billion in federal taxes and $3.1 billion in state and local taxes annually, making them crucial contributors to the economy. Experts estimate that deporting them could lead to a $280 billion loss in economic growth, which would only exacerbate the recession Trump caused by mishandling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trump’s crackdown on immigrants has had an outsized effect in Virginia, which has one of the highest populations of undocumented immigrants in the country. Reporters found early on in Trump’s presidency that his “immigration policy has left a cloud hanging over the heads of many undocumented immigrants living in Virginia.” The increased enforcement has separated families, made immigrants less willing to report crimes like domestic abuse, and created an economic loss for the Commonwealth.
Donald Trump campaigned in 2016 on a platform of xenophobic and racist rhetoric. His language and actions as President have only gotten worse, and they’re causing real harm. The FBI has reported a surge in hate crimes under Trump, with a significant increase in crimes against Latinos. This trend has hit Virginia hard, where Latinos account for one in ten people in our Commonwealth.