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Janet Murguia On How Trump Shaped La Raza's Lineup In Kansas City

The Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights


Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders will speak Monday at the National Council of La Raza, which kicks off this weekend in Kansas City

But none of the Republican candidates are scheduled to appear.

Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the council, says recent remarks from Donald Trump have hurt the Republican party’s credibility with Latinos.

“That tolerance for hate is something that the Republican party has to confront, and they ought to do it sooner rather than later when it comes to Donald Trump and his remarks,” Murguia told KCUR's Steve Kraske.

The interview aired Friday on Up To Date.

“I think that it's hurting the Republican party because I don’t think we’ve seen the outright condemnation coming from party leaders or from other presidential candidates," she said.

Here are some highlights from the Thursday interview.

On Donald Trump’s remarks in the context of immigration issues:

“There are threads and direct links that some people are trying to make to the fact that immigrants or folks from Latin America are somehow undermining the strength of this country when the exact opposite is true. This tolerance and this indulgence by some, and many in the Republican leadership, has worn thin with the Latino community and with Latino voters. ... There’s a lot of demographic change that’s happening, and it’s happening real fast. I think it’s catching a lot of people off guard. When you have individuals who have the media platform like Donald Trump and they’re using scapegoating tactics and rhetoric, it feeds even further into the fears of some folks that somehow this change is a threat to their way of life and somehow different is bad.”

On her upbringing in metro Kansas City and now-prominent family:

“(My parents) were simple, humble people who came to this people who came to this country with big hopes and dreams and believed in the promise of America and in many ways reflected what most others who’ve come to these country, I think, hope for. … We didn’t have a lot of resources, but we had a very close family that was connected by values and love. Those are the kind of assets when you grow up with that, they’re so valuable when you go out there in the world, when you combine that with a decent education your opportunities become endless.”

On labeling President Obama “deporter-in-chief” to encourage executive action on immigration:

“The rate of deportations had peaked to its highest level ever. We were seeing real pain and suffering in the separation of our families who needlessly were put in these situations because they were not a threat to these communities. They were providing real contributions and economic support to these communities. … For us, it doesn’t matter if he was a Democrat or a Republican. We have to call out folks we think can do more on behalf of the community and country.”

On why she doesn’t think entering the country illegally should be grounds for deportation:

“I know it’s hard for some folks who are not immigration lawyers to understand this, but there are people who would like to go to the end of the line, but they can’t even be shown where the end of that line is. So they give up hope that they can act in a way that’s in compliance with all the rules and regulations. … When you have families who are separated, the pull of families is going to be greater.”


Up To Date Latinos
Elle Moxley covered education for KCUR.