Immigration proved a central issue in the 2016 Republican primaries, helping eventual GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump emerge from a crowded field of 17 candidates and solidify his standing with a conservative base that is deeply skeptical about immigration. With the focus now turning to the general election, Republican Party leaders, strategists, and intellectuals from different vantage points—the #NeverTrump, #NeverHillary, pro-business, and libertarian wings of the party—are coming at the immigration debate differently, with differing interpretations of how pivotal immigration will prove to be in attracting or repelling voters and constituencies. This panel at the 13th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference delves into the range of views and approaches to immigration that are in play among Republicans and discuss their implications for the next Congress and the future of the party. Panelists discuss the on-the-ground strategy and lessons, their views on where immigration fits in today’s Republican Party, and how the election discourse on immigration is likely to affect the party going forward. Speakers include Alfonso Aguilar, President of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles; Linda Chavez, President of the Becoming American Institute; Daniel Garza, Executive Director of the LIBRE Initiative; Tamar Jacoby, President of ImmigrationWorks USA; and moderator Josh Gerstein, Senior Reporter, covering the courts, justice, and national security issues, at POLITICO. The conference is organized annually by the Migration Policy Institute, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and Georgetown University Law Center.
2016 Immigration Law and Policy Conference – Immigration and the Republican Party: A Dividing Issue for a Divided Party?