Statement from Mi Familia Vota Executive Director Ben Monterroso on tonight’s final GOP debate before the Iowa Caucus:<
“Even without Donald Trump on tonight’s Republican debate stage, his agenda promoting anger and hatred was in the house. Instead of attempting to step away from the fear mongering created by Trump, most of the contenders for the GOP presidential nomination offered more of the same.

“The big battle at the debate was over the issue of immigration, an issue exploited by Trump to win support of nativists. Before the debate, the GOP field had followed the sound of Trump’s angry rhetoric, and they doubled down tonight.

“In an exchange that was mostly between Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, but also included Senator Rand Paul, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the candidates argued over who had made the biggest flip-flop on immigration.

“The truth is that Cruz, Rubio, Christie and Bush have flip-flopped or zig-zagged on the issue, particularly as it relates to the 11 million people here without documents. They all cut and run from commonsense immigration reform when they decided to run for the presidential nomination in a party with an anti-immigrant base.

“Rubio, especially, helped craft the 2013 Senate bill that included a path to citizenship and now is rhetorically mixing the cement for Trump’s border wall. Cruz denied favoring a path to legalization and is trying to out-do Trump. Neither Christie nor Bush acknowledged previously favoring citizenship, although Bush was the only candidate who defended a path to legalization tonight.

“They promote hate and fear, knowing that most voters have consistently supported commonsense immigration reform. Most voters also back the Obama administration’s DAPA and DACA+ initiatives now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

“That’s not all. When Ben Carson was asked about anti-Muslim rhetoric, he called for an end to political correctness. On health care, the candidates repeated their calls to repeal the Affordable Care Act, even though it has significantly reduced the rate of uninsured among Latinos. On issue after issue that is important to Americans, including Latinos, the conservative candidates either ignore us or insult us.

“Unfortunately, these candidates are not interested in getting our votes. But, we are listening and working hard to heard in the November election.

“This weekend, MFV will hold citizenship workshops in six states. We also are continuing to register voters in our communities to build our political power. We are determined to have our power felt in November, so that politicians can no longer ignore us, and instead, work with us to protect our families.”

Citizenship workshop locations are listed here at MiFamiliaVota.org. 

Mi Familia Vota is a national non-profit organization that unites Latino, immigrant and allied communities to promote social and economic justice through increased civic participation by promoting citizenship, increasing voter registration, and increasing voter participation. Mi Familia Vota is one of the premiere Latino civic engagement organizations in the country with operations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and Texas. For more information visit www.mifamiliavota.org