Latinos For Tennessee has issued a statement backing President Trump’s plans to crack down on illegal immigration while keeping protections for those who entered as minors.
“The reality is that if we are to remain free and prosperous, no one can be above the law,” said Raul Lopez, the conservative group’s executive director. “What’s more, to rebuild trust with the American people to push for a permanent immigrant solution, our government needs to immediately expel those that have come here to our country to commit crime and be a burden on society.”
Lopez noted that prior administrations have taken similar steps and that even President Obama was called “Deporter in Chief” by the National Council of La Raza for deporting millions during his administration. Lopez said his group is supportive of immigrants and that “we must discourage continued illegal immigration and work to improve the legal avenues for legal immigration.”
“We are confident that President Trump understands this and we support him and his administration for doing what is necessary to ensure that we remain a country of laws, and also a country of immigrants,” Lopez said.
Lopez said President Trump showed compassion in “accommodating young adults that were brought to this country illegally, at no fault of their own.” The Trump administration recently announced plans to leave in place, at least for know, a program known as DACA started by President Obama in 2012. Under the program, those who were brought here as minors and meet certain criteria are eligible for a renewable two-year relief from deportation and can receive a work permit. It does not include a path to permanent residency or citizenship. Nearly 2 million young people nationally are eligible for DACA and more than 860,000 applications had been accepted as of September 2016, according to data collected by the Migration Policy Institute. In Tennessee, 23,000 young people are eligible. Most of those eligible nationally are from Mexico.
Latinos For Tennessee describes itself as the only ideologically conservative Latino organization in the state. The group has a presence in Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga and promotes faith, family, freedom and fiscal responsibility.
The group also recently announced its support for Alexander Acosta, President Trump’s pick for labor secretary.