immigration

The current front-runner in the Republican presidential primary, Donald Trump, is sparking a debate about immigration that's beginning to alienate some conservative Latinos.

"He drowns out a lot of the conservative field, and it's very bad for the Republican Party," said Ricky Salabarria, a 22-year-old consultant with a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses tucked into his pink dress shirt.

Salabarria was among a half-dozen young conservatives at a networking event in Northern Virginia. He's from Florida, and his family is originally from Cuba and Spain.

Late August may be the absolutely worst time to launch a political TV blitz. But a Democratic superPAC, Priorities USA Action, is offering up a minicampaign this week and next, warning Republicans that their heated rhetoric on immigration is captured on videotape and being prepped for prime time later in the race.

Let’s get to the actual question — and what Jorge Ramos tried to ask Donald Trump last night: How does he plan to deport more than 11 million undocumented immigrants, as he has often repeated?

It’s a critical question for all Americans and, especially, Ramos’ audience. For Ramos, the popular anchor for Fusion and for Univision, the biggest Spanish-language network in the US, there is no room to see the Republican Party presidential front-runner in the abstract or as a source of political humor.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump repeatedly referred to "criminal aliens" and "illegal aliens" in the immigration plan he released on Sunday. "Alien," and especially "illegal alien," have become such staples in the vocabulary of conservative pundits and politicians that many immigrant rights advocates now reject those terms as derogatory and dehumanizing.

But it wasn't always like that.

GOP presidential candidates are falling over themselves to get on record with tough immigration plans. A string of them — Rand Paul, Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Rick Santorum — have spoken out in some form against birthright citizenship. That's the idea that being born on U.S. soil, regardless of your parents' legal status, automatically makes you a U.S. citizen.

Ben Carson went even further, saying he wants to secure the border — where he claims there are caves in which immigrants can hide — by using drones.

Donald Trump's immigration plan is — like the candidate — flashy, strident and headline-grabbing. Fox News called it "an early Christmas gift" for immigration hawks. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter pronounced it "the greatest political document since the Magna Carta."

But some of those in the trenches of immigration reform say it's unrealistic and unworkable.

Donald Trump could write "Immigration Reform for Dummies." He makes a complex issue simple and sexy.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/8567825104">Gage Skidmore</a>/Flickr/Creative Commons

Donald Trump is not the first Republican presidential candidate to float the idea of scrapping the principle that anyone born in the United States automatically becomes a US citizen. And he probably won’t be the last.

Donald Trump began his bid for president saying Mexican immigrants were "rapists," bringing drugs, and "some, I assume, are good people."

And, Sunday he made headlines again talking about immigrants. He rolled out his first detailed policy position, and it was on immigration reform.

His central premise is that immigrants are bad for the U.S. economy, and he ticked off a series of ways to fix both legal and illegal immigration.

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