If Trump pardons Arpaio, Latinos have a new reason to head to the polls
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This week, President Trump gave a speech in Arizona that sounded more like a campaign rally than a president addressing the serious policy issues that face America.

The crowd was screaming the familiar "Drain the swamp" and "Lock her up" campaign chants we heard a year ago. But now the campaign is over and it's time to govern. The president and the Republicans control every branch of our federal government, yet they have not been able to pass any significant legislation. Instead, they continue to feed their base the same divisive, anti-immigrant talking points when we should be uniting around issues to move America forward.

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President Trump traveled to Phoenix in large part to promote his border wall, give a boost to former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (whose discriminatory policies were struck down by a judge) and threaten to further restrict immigration rather than fix our current broken and clogged system. This kind of talk is only an amplified version of the language the Republican party utilized as campaign talking points for the past eight years.

Though Trump won the presidency and has an opportunity to actually fix something, we continue to hear the same incendiary political rants typical of candidate Trump. Even worse, we continue to see members of the Republican party downplay or defend Trump's toxic statements and policy "ideas."

The good news is that these policies are going to affect Republicans in a very direct way. One-in-four of all Latinos in the U.S. personally know someone who has been deported or detained and young Latinos between the ages of 18 to 29 are twice as likely to know someone who has been deported or detained.

During Tuesday night's speech on Arpaio, the border wall, and immigration, President Trump gave a whole new meaning to motivating Latino voters. 2018 will be an interesting year in the state of Arizona, as campaigns for governor, U.S. Senate, and several congressional districts begin ramping up. Do not be surprised if the Democrats use this speech by the president to motivate a whole new group of voters who have not shown up in the past.

Trump's comments about probably pardoning Arpaio, a man who has racially profiled and targeted the Latino community in Arizona for years, have been enough to spark protests and demonstrations. Imagine what Republicans running for office in Arizona will face if Trump continues down this hostile path.

Immigrants helped build this country. They are the backbone of this great nation. They, in fact, make America great. Immigrants are twice as likely to start a business than U.S.-born citizens. At my consulting firm, all of my employees are either immigrants or children of immigrants. Our country has gained and will continue to gain from immigrants and children of immigrants.

People from all over the world come to the U.S. for the opportunity to live a better life and contribute to our great country. It's time we stop talking about walls and start talking about bridges.

Chuck Rocha is the president of Solidarity Strategies, a Latino-owned progressive political consulting firm. He was a senior advisor to Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersAs Democrats gear up to challenge Trump in 2020, the key political divide will be metropolitan versus rural Entrepreneur touts big solutions, endorsements in discussing presidential bid Warren, 2020 Dems target private immigration detention center operators MORE’ 2016 presidential campaign and is an elected member of the District of Columbia Democratic State Committee. Follow Chuck on Twitter @ChuckRocha.


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