President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant onslaught since taking office in 2017 has turned America’s increasingly diverse electorate against him and is likely to haunt Republicans in the years ahead as they try to win back the White House in 2024. Trump’s hardline policies have effectively closed America’s doors to immigrants, while his rhetoric has demonized them, particularly if they are Hispanic, African, or Muslim. As a result, a growing number of immigrant rights organizations are warning that his words and actions are likely to cause lasting damage to the Republican Party, particularly in light of the demographic shifts in the US.
Trump’s most prominent anti-immigration policy is the travel ban, which sought to bar citizens of several majority-Muslim countries from entering the US. This ban was eventually upheld by the Supreme Court in 2018. Additionally, he has cracked down on illegal border crossings, leading to the separation of migrant children from their parents at the US-Mexico border. His administration has also reduced the number of refugees accepted into the US to a record low.
The president’s rhetoric has also created a hostile environment for immigrants. He has referred to them as “rapists” and “criminals” in a number of speeches and tweets. One of his campaigns ads explicitly sought to stoke fear of the Central American migrant caravan, while another falsely claimed that Democrats were behind a “border crisis”.
Trump’s anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric are likely to have long-term consequences for the Republican Party as it seeks to regain the White House in 2024. Polls show that a clear majority of American voters oppose his hardline policies and believe immigrants should be treated with respect. Moreover, the US population is projected to become increasingly diverse in the years ahead, and the Republican Party needs to win the support of these new voters in order to stay relevant. As such, it is increasingly likely that the GOP will have to change its stance on immigration in order to appeal to a broader electorate.