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Leaders of five Latino and immigrant rights’ organizations on Friday denounced former President Donald J. Trump’s immigration proposals, saying his plans would amount to constitutional overreach, lead to mass racial profiling against Latinos and a pose a threat to democracy.

Mr. Trump in a Time magazine interview this week described the arrival of migrants at the nation’s southern border as an “invasion” and laid out plans for a massive deportation operation if he is re-elected this fall.

“There’s no right way to be American, there’s no right way to look American,” said María Teresa Kumar, president of Voto Latino, adding that Mr. Trump and his backers sent Hispanic voters the wrong message.

The event was part of an effort by the groups’ political arms to better coordinate their work to shore up Latino support for President Biden and other Democrats ahead of the November election.

Speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., leaders with Voto Latino, UnidosUS Action Fund, Mi Familia Vota, America’s Voice, and Latino Victory Project announced a combined investment of $50 million — the most the groups have spent jointly to sway a voting bloc that is likely to be crucial in swing-state races and congressional elections.

Their focus, they said, was to avoid another Trump presidency, saying Mr. Trump had launched his 2016 campaign with dangerous and dehumanizing statements against Mexicans and immigrants, and had only intensified his rhetoric since then.

“Donald Trump is enemy number one for the Latino community, for the immigrant community, but also enemy number one for all the basic elements of democracy,” Héctor Sánchez Barba, president Mi Familia Vota, said at the news conference.

Mr. Trump’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Although Latino voters still overall lean Democratic, Mr. Trump improved his performance with Hispanic voters in 2020, and made sizable gains in some areas like South Florida and South Texas. Some analyses have found his opposition to Covid pandemic restrictions that shut down workplaces and his administration’s promotion of low Latino unemployment rates and support for Latino businesses helped sway some of those voters to his side, even when they disagreed with his immigration policies.

“There’s no right way to be American, there’s no right way to look American,” said María Teresa Kumar, president of Voto Latino.Credit…Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Time

Latino Republicans and leaders with conservative Hispanic groups have argued that Mr. Trump has been able to make inroads with the Hispanic community because Latinos had lost trust in the Biden administration and Democrats to handle the influx of migrants at the border.

“Hispanics are for immigration — absolutely — but they also want to see law and order,” said Alfonso Aguilar, director for Hispanic engagement at the American Principles Project, a socially conservative think thank. He added conservative groups were working on their own multimillion-dollar campaign aimed at Latino voters.

At their news conference in Washington on Friday, leaders of Voto Latino and the other organizations pushed back against polls showing Mr. Trump in “a dead heat” with President Biden in the presidential race, as well as recent surveys showing that Latino voters are increasingly supportive of more restrictive immigration measures like mass deportations and a border wall.

They said many Latinos had not been following the presidential election and that disinformation was running rampant in Hispanic communities. One focus group of young voters in Arizona found Latinas were highly concerned about the loss of access to abortion but were not aware that it had been Republicans who had led efforts to curb abortion rights, Ms. Kumar said.

Leaders said their mobilization efforts would be geared toward communicating actions the Biden administration has taken that benefit the Hispanic community, like the decision on Friday to let undocumented immigrants get health care through the Affordable Care Act — a move they said came after Voto Latino presented focus-group findings that many Latino voters were considering sitting out the election or voting for a third-party candidate.

Janet Murguía, president of UnidosUS Action Fund, said she believed Latinos’ attitudes toward more hard line immigration policies would change once they realized the impact.

“I predict that this will shift,” she said, adding that the groups’ efforts are aimed at educating Latino voters about who would work on their behalf.



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