About Me

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Beverly Hills, California, United States
Eli Kantor is a labor, employment and immigration law attorney. He has been practicing labor, employment and immigration law for more than 36 years. He has been featured in articles about labor, employment and immigration law in the L.A. Times, Business Week.com and Daily Variety. He is a regular columnist for the Daily Journal. Telephone (310)274-8216; eli@elikantorlaw.com. For more information, visit beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com and and beverlyhillsemploymentlaw.com


Monday, August 31, 2015

The ‘Jorge Ramos Effect’ Could Hurt Donald Trump

By Sergio Garcia-Rios
August 28, 2015

Donald Trump may chalk up his scuffle with Univision anchor Jorge Ramos Tuesday night in Iowa as yet another win in taking on the media. When Ramos insisted on asking questions about Trump’s immigration proposal, Trump declared “Go back to Univision,” and security escorted Ramos out of the room. But for Latino voters, it’s much more meaningful. Jorge Ramos is not just another news anchor—he’s the most trusted source of information among Latinos, according to Latino Decisions polling during the 2012 election.

Donald Trump’s confrontation with Ramos is the latest example in a long list of actions that have antagonized Latino voters. In June, when he announced his intention to run in the GOP presidential primary, he suggested that the real threat to America was Mexicans crossing the border. Mexico is sending people with “lots of problems,” people who were “bringing drugs,” and people who were “rapists,” he said.

Since then, Trump has continued to make immigration issues a centerpiece of his campaign. He has proposed building a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border and somehow making Mexico pay for it. He says he will deport all undocumented immigrants, including U.S.-born children, whom he plans to deport with their parents: “We’re going to keep the families together, but they have to go.” He also wants to deny U.S. citizenship to U.S.-born children.

It is precisely this anti-immigrant rhetoric that has resonated so profoundly among certain pockets of GOP voters and keeps Trump as their frontrunner. As Christopher Parker, associate professor of political science at the University of Washington, has written, “people who are highly identified with the Tea Party are anxious about Latino immigrants taking over ‘their’ country.”

Trump is clearly not popular among Latinos. A recent Gallup poll tracking the GOP candidates reports a net favorable score of negative 51. (The next lowest are Ted Cruz and Rick Perry at negative seven. Jeb Bush is the highest, with 11.) Attacking Ramos likely won’t help.

In a new academic research paper, I find that Spanish-language media plays an important role in socializing and mobilizing Latinos to vote, and that exposure to Spanish TV news significantly increases interest in voting and campaign involvement. (The opposite is true for Latinos who are frequent consumers of English news media.) The findings show that being a frequent consumer of Spanish-language news more than doubles a person’s likelihood of voting. We call this the “Jorge Ramos effect.”

For many Latinos, Spanish news media represents both a trusted source of information, as well as a socializing vehicle. Ramos is leading this effort, asking tough questions to politicians about the issues most important to the Latino community. In addition, he participates in an extensive public service announcement campaign called Ya es hora imploring Latinos to register and vote to make their voices heard.

According to the research findings, Spanish-language political news clearly mobilized Latino voters in 2012. The “Jorge Ramos effect” was present not only in heightened interest in voting, but also in direct engagement with campaigns. Research also finds a direct connection between Mitt Romney’s comments that undocumented immigrants should practice self-deportation and the record Latino voter turnout for Barack Obama in 2012. And let’s not forget the failed U.S. Senate campaign in Nevada by Republican Sharon Angle, whose campaign depicted Latino immigrants as gang members and criminals. A post-election analysis proved she won less than 10% of the Latino vote.

Running on anti-immigrant rhetoric and fighting with Ramos is unlikely to go without consequences for Mr. Trump. It may just spark Latino involvement in politics even earlier than expected in 2016.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

The 'Trump Effect' Alienating Conservative Latinos

By Asma Khalid
August 31, 2015

The current front-runner in the Republican presidential primary, Donald Trump, is sparking a debate about immigration that's beginning to alienate some conservative Latinos.

"He drowns out a lot of the conservative field, and it's very bad for the Republican Party," said Ricky Salabarria, a stylish 22-year-old Hispanic consultant from Florida, who dons a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses tucked into his pink dress shirt at a bar in Northern Virginia.

His family is originally from Cuba and Spain. And he feels alienated by the current immigration rhetoric dominating his party's primary on immigration.

"Being Hispanic, being gay, it all sort of like makes it hard to be a part of the GOP right now," Salabarria said. "I don't feel like my views are being represented very well."

Heated Rhetoric

Trump, who seems to only gain steam as the days go on, described Mexican immigrants coming into the U.S. illegally as "rapists." Then, in his first policy proposal — on immigration — he advocated for stripping the constitution of the 14th Amendment, which automatically grants citizenship to those born in the United States.

That sparked a week of candidates dancing around — or tripping over — the issue of "anchor babies," children born in the U.S. to immigrants in the country illegally. Trump also wants to put up a wall and deport the 11 million or so immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

It's all led to heated rhetoric from the candidates. Ben Carson called for using armed drones on the border, and just this weekend, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said immigrants on visa should be tracked like FedEx packages.

"At any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is," Christie said in New Hampshire Saturday. "It's on the truck. It's at the station. It's on the airplane. Yet we let people come to this country with visas, and the minute they come in, we lose track of them."

Christie, who is supposed to be of the more moderate wing of the party, added that he would ask FedEx's founder, Fred Smith, to work for him for three months to set up a program because, "We need to have a system that tracks you from the moment you come in."

Christie, by the way, called criticism of his comments "ridiculous" on Fox News Sunday.

Not Helping GOP Cause

When the Republicans failed to win the White House in 2012, they conducted an autopsy that said:

When he was asked why he still votes Republican if he doesn't think his identity politics align with the party, Salabarria explained, "I think a lot of it has to do with the idea of free-market economy, limited government. I think those ideals still ring true, and I think that's at the core of what being a conservative is."

Salabarria said he thinks social issues and immigration will eventually become non-issues, because the Republican Party will evolve.

And, he pointed out that even though Trump is monopolizing the spotlight with his immigration agenda, there are other GOP candidates with more moderate immigration ideas that appeal to him, specifically former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

Trump's Problem — And Influence

To be clear — the crux of the frustration for essentially every Latino Republican interviewed for this story was not the GOP presidential field in its entirety; but, specifically, Trump, his immigration ideologies, and his power to dominate (and influence) the conversation.

"It's disappointing what's going on with the party right now," said Tom Narvaez, a 23-year-old law student from Virginia, whose parents immigrated from El Salvador. "If you want to win over the Latino community, you have to respect them. And, I think that's what some of the candidates are failing to do."

Narvaez is a committed Republican. He interned for former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and volunteered for Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign, but he said the immigration rhetoric in this campaign, especially from Trump, is "insulting."

The other night, he even tweeted at the RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to express his exasperation with the situation.

Narvaez is disappointed, because, he said, it seems so few candidates are taking the issue of immigration seriously.

"Out of all the candidates right now, I think Marco Rubio is the only one that has a record of actually trying to move forward with immigration," Narvaez said.

Rubio worked on the Senate's bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill, but has not championed it on the campaign trail.

Narvaez is a Republican, he said, because he believes deeply in small government. He said, personally, he's not going to be swayed to the left by immigration chatter from the fringe, but he's worried the party could get a bad reputation.

Appeal 'Narrowing'

Trump likes to say that Hispanics love him. But the data tell a different story. Trump is hugely unpopular with Latino voters of all political stripes.

A Gallup poll released last week showed two-thirds — 65 percent — of Latino voters have an unfavorable opinion of the real-estate-mogul-turned-GOP-front-runner. Only 14 percent had a favorable opinion of him.

Keep in mind, the poll was conducted before a Trump security guard kicked Univision's Jorge Ramos out of his press conference in Iowa.

Immigration is important to many Latino voters on both sides of the aisle, said Alfonso Aguilar, the former chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship under George W. Bush. He now serves as executive director of the Latino Partnership at the conservative American Principles Project.

Aguilar explained that immigration may not be the top priority for Latinos in political polls, but it's a "gateway" issue.

"It's an issue you have to get right," he said. "It doesn't mean that you have to believe in mass amnesty or a path to citizenship. You just have to show that you're constructive, that you're willing to, in an intelligent way, bring people out of the shadows, even if it's not a special path to citizenship."

Aguilar said Latinos are watching how candidates respond to Trump. He said some Republican presidential hopefuls — such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who have tried to match Trump's staunch immigration rhetoric, have probably already lost Latino votes.

And, other candidates, who've remained silent, probably haven't done themselves any favors.

"The spectrum of candidates that have potential to be appealing to Latinos, it's narrowing," Aguilar said. "I think really we're almost down to Governor Bush, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and Governor Perry, and some of those are not viable. So, you know, that's part of the Trump effect."

The "Trump effect," Aguilar said, makes it harder to attract Latino voters.

"Democrats," he added, "they love this."

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Trump's Mass Deportation Idea Was Tried in the 1930s

Associated Press
By Russel Contreras
August 30, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's call for mass deportation of millions of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, as well as their American-born children, bears similarities to a large-scale removal that many Mexican-American families faced 85 years ago.

During the Great Depression, counties and cities in the American Southwest and Midwest forced Mexican immigrants and their families to leave the U.S. over concerns they were taking jobs away from whites despite their legal right to stay.

The result: Around 500,000 to 1 million Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans were pushed out of the country during the 1930s repatriation, as the removal is sometimes called.

During that time, immigrants were rounded up and sent to Mexico, sometimes in public places and often without formal proceedings. Others, scared under the threat of violence, left voluntarily.

About 60 percent of those who left were American citizens, according to various studies on the 1930s repatriation. Later testimonies show families lost most of their possessions and some family members died trying to return. Neighborhoods in cities such as Houston, San Antonio and Los Angeles became empty.

The impact of the experience on Latinos remains evident today, experts and advocates say.

"It set the tone for later deportations," said Francisco Balderrama, a Chicano studies professor at California State University, Los Angeles.

Two weeks ago, Trump said that, if elected president, he would expand deportations and end "birthright citizenship" for children born to immigrants who are here illegally. Under his plan, American-born children of immigrants also would be deported with their parents, and Mexico would be asked to help build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"They're illegal," Trump said of U.S.-born children of people living in the country illegally. "You either have a country or not."

Amid his comments on immigration, polls show negative impressions of Trump among Latinos. A Gallup poll released Aug. 24 found that Hispanics were more likely to give Trump unfavorable ratings than favorable ones by 51 percentage points.

Some immigrant advocates pointed to the removal of prominent Latino journalist Jorge Ramos from an Iowa press conference last week as a metaphor for the candidate's desire to remove Latinos from the United States.

"Mr. Trump should heed the following warning: Our Latino and immigrant communities are not going to forget the way he has treated them," the Washington, D.C.-based Fair Immigration Reform Movement said in a statement.

Ramos, an anchor for Univision, was escorted out by a Trump aide after Ramos, who had criticized Trump previously, tried to question Trump about his immigration plan. Trump interrupted Ramos, saying he hadn't been called on, and ultimately told Ramos, "Go back to Univision."

Ramos was saying, "You cannot deport 11 million people," as he was escorted away. He was later allowed to return.

Trump has provided few details on how his proposed deportation effort would be carried out. The conservative-leaning American Action Forum concluded in a report it would cost between $400 billion to $600 billion and take 20 years to remove an estimated 11.2 million immigrants living in the country illegally.

The large-scale deportation he envisions would be impractical to enact, due to the extent to which Mexican immigrants have integrated into U.S. society, said Columbia University history professor Mae Ngai.

U.S.-born children of immigrants have been automatically considered American citizens since the adoption of the Constitution's 14th Amendment in 1868. A Supreme Court ruling in 1898 halted previous attempts to limit the birthright of Chinese-American citizens after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act.

The ruling upheld the clause for all U.S.-born children, Ngai said, and there have been no successful challenges to the clause since.

In the 1930s, Balderrama said, officials skirted the issue of birthright citizenship by saying they did not want to break up families.

"But they did break up families and many children never saw their parents again," said Balderrama, co-author of a book about Mexican repatriation in the 1930s with the late historian Raymond Rodriguez, who testified before a California state committee about seeing his father for the last time at age 10, before the father left for Mexico.

That legacy lingers in songs, often played on Spanish-language radio stations, that allude to mass deportations and separation of loved ones, said Lilia Soto, an American studies professor at the University of Wyoming.

For example, the lyrics to "Ice El Hielo," by the Los Angeles-band La Santa Cecilia, speak of a community afraid that federal agents about to arrive and launch deportations raids at any moment. The ballad "Volver, Volver," sung by Mexican ranchera performer Vicente "Chente" Fernandez, speaks of someone vowing to return to a lover despite all obstacles.

"They're about families being apart," Soto said. "The lyrics are all indirectly linked to this past."

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Congressman Carlos Curbelo calls Trump's immigration plan a 'fraud'

August 28, 2015

Florida Congressman Carlos Curbelo on Thursday called the immigration plan proposed by Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump a "fraud and a distraction" that is standing in the way of comprehensive immigration reform.

"Everything about Trump is a fraud, his immigration plan is a fraud ... The impact of the noise he makes causes a big distraction and stands in the way of solutions that are really going to build the immigration system for the 21st century," the lawmaker, who is of Cuban origin, told EFE in remarks at a Miami forum on immigration reform in the United States.

Curbelo, a Republican who represents Florida in the House of Representatives in Washington, said that the political aims of the real estate magnate are "highly questionable" and that in his government policy proposals he is "using the immigration problem as a personal game" for his own convenience.

In an interview with the NBC television network, the controversial presidential hopeful said that his immigration plan includes building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and deporting all the undocumented immigrants living in this country, more than 11 million people.

The lawmaker also commented upon Trump's changes of opinion regarding the Deferred Action program for people who arrived illegally in the United States as children, known as DACA, a program launched by President Barack Obama in 2012 which since then has prevented the deportation of more than half a million young people known as "Dreamers."

"A few years ago, apparently Trump was in favor of Dreamers legalizing their status in the country and becoming U.S. citizens, and now he's suddenly changed his mind," the legislator said.

He also pointed to the "close friendship" the multimillionaire maintains with the family of Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Curbelo reaffirmed his stance in favor of immigration reform, saying that "immigration nourishes the economy ... and we have to reward all those people who want to come (here) to work."

The lawmaker on Thursday participated in a conference organized by the American Competitiveness Alliance, or ACAlliance, held at Carlos Albizu University in Miami, where participants discussed the positive impact immigration reform would have on the U.S. economy. 

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Latin music academy protests Trump's immigration proposals

Associated Press
August 28, 2015

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is drawing protests from another Latino organization — this time, one based in the music industry.

The organization that runs the Latin Grammys and promotes the genre around the world, the Latin Recording Academy, says that "Trump needs a respectful reminder" of the "countless contributions Latinos make to American culture."

Trump has vowed to deport everyone living in the U.S. illegally, eliminate birthright citizenship and build a wall on the nation's southern border to stop illegal crossings. The billionaire businessman's proposals have drawn protests from dozens of Latino advocacy groups.

Latin Recording Academy President and CEO Gabriel Abaroa Jr. says Trump's "denial of Latino contributions and the division it will create cannot be tolerated."

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

These Photos Prove ‘Anchor Babies’ Are A Myth

By Esther Yu-Hsi Lee
August 28, 2015

Christian Hervis-Vazquez called his wife Viviana on Thursday afternoon to confirm her worst fear: He was in Mexico. The U.S. federal immigration agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had deported him earlier that day.

Hervis-Vazquez is an undocumented immigrant married to a U.S. citizen. They have three young children who were all born here in the United States.

“The children are taking it very, very bad,” Viviana said in an interview with ThinkProgress, just hours before her husband’s call, breaking into a guttural sob. Of her three children, she said her 5-year-old son has “stopped eating” and her 7-year-old daughter has started to “shut out” conversations since their father left.

Last month, federal immigration agents took Hervis-Vazquez near his home in Las Vegas, Nevada for a DUI conviction from 2010.

The children are taking it very, very bad.

“They came to pick him up on July 14 on his way to work. It was a regular day,” Viviana recalled. “They told him he had a deportation order, which he got in 2012 but we didn’t even know about that. We’ve lived here for three years and we never received anything and don’t even know how he got that. Before we could even start the paperwork [for his green card], he was detained.”

According to the immigrant advocacy group America’s Voice, Hervis-Vazquez had already completed “all of the necessary courses surrounding his DUI and paying his fines,” so the deportation amounted to a form of double punishment for the Hervis-Vazquez family. Up until his deportation on Thursday, Hervis-Vazquez had been staying inside an immigration detention center in Otero, New Mexico.

Since Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign in June with a speech suggesting that Mexican immigrants are rapists, drug dealers, and killers, other Republican candidates have also embraced extreme rhetoric about undocumented immigrants. The most recent trend is to suggest that undocumented immigrants are coming to the U.S. to have so-called “anchor babies” — a slur used to describe U.S.-born children of foreign-born parents, who could sponsor family members for legal status at some point later in life, therefore serving as an “anchor” to help keep their undocumented parents here.

But the recent deportation of Hervis-Vazquez — a man who, according to the Republican candidates, is supposedly moored to the United States because of his familial ties to U.S. citizens — defies that assumption.

He’s not alone. About 9 million individuals in the United States live in mixed-immigration status families, where at least one parent is undocumented and one child was born in the United States.

And many, like Hervis-Vazquez, are at risk of having their family lives torn apart at any moment.

Reyna Montoya, a 24-year-old high school teacher, lives in such a household. Originally from Mexico, Montoya and her younger brother are undocumented immigrants granted temporary work authorization and legal presence in the country through President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Her parents are also undocumented. Her 8-year-old sister, however, is a U.S. citizen.

When Montoya’s father came back from a work trip to Puerto Rico in 2012, he was asked if he was a U.S. citizen. When he told the truth, ICE officials arrested him for illegal re-entry. He spent nine months in immigration detention and was released on bond in 2013. But his case is not closed.

“He has court again next year so we don’t know what’s going to happen,” Montoya told ThinkProgress. “Now we’re just waiting for someone to decide what gets to happen to your family. That person has so much power about what could happen and the implications of our family if my dad gets deported. Going to see my dad wouldn’t be possible unless he’s dying. Is my 8-year-old sister going to visit my dad on her own?”

The DACA program allows undocumented immigrants like Montoya to travel internationally, though through limited circumstances. The program grants some individuals advance parole to leave the country for education or business trips and also to visit dying family members.

Going to see my dad wouldn’t be possible unless he’s dying.

For people like the Hervis-Vazquez and Montoya families, the rhetoric espoused by the 2016 Republican presidential candidates couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re not benefiting from so-called “anchor babies.”

“I just think it’s unfair and uncalled for and disrespectful,” Viviana said, when asked how she felt about the loaded term. “No one should be discriminated against for where they come from.”

Though much of the immigration debate is focused on Latino immigrants, the former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) put a new twist on the term when he said that “anchor babies” is a concept that’s “more related to Asian people.” But mixed-immigration status Asian families aren’t any less shielded from deportation.

Bati is a 21-year-old DACA beneficiary who came to the country from Mongolia with his parents when he was 10 years old. Both of his parents are undocumented and they work various jobs in the construction and restaurant industry. His 11-year-old brother is a U.S. citizen. Neither one of his parents are in deportation proceedings. But they are subjected to long hours and low wages, as are many other undocumented immigrants — and they live much of their lives in fear.

“They’re afraid of going to the hospital and afraid of the police stopping them,” Bati told ThinkProgress. “If they’re deported, it’ll be me and my brother.”

People come to the country to start a family. There’s no external motive.

Bati shrugged off the idea that his younger brother is an “anchor” for his family. “Why would somebody who comes into this country have a kid just to become a citizen in 21 years and even then wait ten years to become a citizen?” he asked. “That argument doesn’t really make sense. People come to the country to start a family. There’s no external motive.”

Many families are caught in an immigration system that indiscriminately targets people with family connections to the United States. A majority of the country’s undocumented population are long-term residents and have have been in the country for about 13 years. But there have been at least 205,000 parents of U.S.-born citizens who have been deported between 2010 and 2012.

“When they talk about ‘anchor babies,’ they’re talking about my sister,” Montoya said. “We left Mexico because we were running away from all the violence, the drugs, the cartels that was happening there. What does an anchor actually mean? It really hits home and seeing my siblings’ faces and knowing that they’re being called these names. This is their country and they’re not any less American than Donald Trump.”

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Friday, August 28, 2015

Rising Kasich threatens Bush

The Hill
By Jesse Byrnes
August 28, 2015

Jeb Bush has a new nemesis, and it isn’t Donald Trump.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) is quietly rising in the polls in New Hampshire, capitalizing on a strong debate performance where he seemed at ease in the spotlight.

With many in the Republican Party seeking to find a Trump-killer, Kasich’s late summer surge is threatening to steal away the mantle of establishment favorite that Bush had long been expected to claim.

"Of all the candidates out there in terms of corralling the establishment voters, Kasich is a clear and present danger of taking them," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told The Hill.

The threat to Bush is clear.

The former Florida governor is an underdog in the Iowa caucus, and if current polling holds, might not even finish in the top 5.

That lends added importance to New Hampshire, the first primary state in the nation and a reliable bellwether in the race for the nomination.

Should Kasich top Bush in the state, strategists say, the race could change in an instant.

“[Kasich] wants to be become the establishment frontrunner, and he can do that by beating Jeb in New Hampshire," said Matt Mackowiak, another GOP strategist.

But beating Bush will be no easy task.

His fundraising network is vast, thanks to the connections built up over the years by his family. The super-PAC supporting Bush’s candidacy has already raised more than $100 million, and his campaign is expected to stockpile cash at a rapid pace.

Bush also has access to some of the Republican Party’s best advisers, strategists and policy minds, as many of them served in the administrations of his brother and father.

"Jeb's been consistent since day one in really calling out Washington" and showing his own merits, said Rich Killion, Bush's New Hampshire strategist, mentioning issues such as taxes and school choice.

"Every candidate is still in the introductory stage of introducing themselves to Granite State voters," Killion said. "Jeb Bush has never run for national office before. His toes are on the starting line, just like everyone else."

But Bush’s tepid showing in the first GOP debate, followed by a few awkward statements on the campaign trail, have halted some of the momentum he appeared to have earlier this summer — and Kasich is filling the void.

A survey released this week by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP) found Kasich in second place in New Hampshire, thanks to increased support among moderate voters.

Kasich took 11 percent support in the poll, followed by businesswoman Carly Fiorina (10 percent), Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (7 percent each) and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson (6 percent).

PPP's survey also showed Kasich as the Republican in the state who would present the strongest challenge to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front-runner.

A Boston Herald/Franklin Pierce University poll released days after the first GOP debate earlier this month found Bush and Kasich neck-and-neck at 13 percent and 12 percent in New Hampshire, respectively.

Still, Trump remains at the head of the pack both in New Hampshire and nationally, in some cases leading the other 17 candidates by double-digits.

"You have Donald Trump and the rest of the field," said David Winston, a Republican pollster. "I don't think the mini-primaries are clear yet."

Regardless, "New Hampshire is the spark," O’Connell said, noting that it's difficult to gain traction in the other early voting states without big national poll numbers and attention.

"If [Kasich] can actually win New Hampshire, then the game board changes," O'Connell said.

Kasich was one of the last candidates to join the 2016 race, which gave him just enough of a bump in the polls to land a spot in the first Republican debate on Aug. 6.

Since then, Kasich — a former nine-term congressman — has been traveling around New Hampshire for around a dozen town halls and events, all while enjoying record approval ratings back home in Ohio.

He’s picked up several big-name endorsements, including former New York Sen. Al D'Amato (R), Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.).

He's also been backed by Thomas Rath, a veteran operative and former New Hampshire attorney general, and former New Hampshire Sen. John E. Sununu, who is now a top adviser.

"If he's successful in the first three or four primary states, then that momentum will continue," Sununu told The Hill.

"I think one of the biggest challenges right now is that there are 17 people in the race," he added.

Kasich’s rise has been aided by a super-PAC, New Day for America, that has spent $4 million in New Hampshire since mid-July, an official told The Hill.

"It's very clear with the governor moving into second place in New Hampshire, the more they see of Gov. Kasich the more they like him," Matt David, the group's chief strategist, told The Hill.

Sources involved with the Kasich super-PAC say it plans to extend its ad buy, including on the digital front, ahead of the next Republican debate in September.

The Bush camp appears ready to fight back.

The super-PAC that supports Bush is expected to start airing TV ads in New Hampshire by mid-September. The ads are part of a $10 million media blitz that includes South Carolina and Iowa, according to The Associated Press.

Bush is headed to New Hampshire in the coming days for his 12th appearance since March, Killion said. Kasich is scheduled to visit the state on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Top aides in New Hampshire for both campaigns caution that the race is still in its very early stages.

Sununu said the vast majority of voters won't tune into the race until after Labor Day, while Bush's strategist noted that Granite State voters "habitually, instinctively and almost deliberately choose to decide late."

"That's why you really have to work it. You have to invest the time and attention and the care to put yourself out in front of the voters," Killion said.

"You want to compete everywhere, and this is a great place to compete," he said.

Bush and Kasich share many similarities; both have executive experience as governor of a large swing state, and both have broken with the rest of the field on issues such as immigration and Common Core education standards. 

"Bush's theory is inclusive conservative, Kasich's is compassionate conservative," O'Connell said.

Bush’s ability to compete aggressively in all the early voting states is one major advantage, strategists note. While Bush’s candidacy might be able to survive a poor showing in New Hampshire, a defeat there for Kasich could be a fatal blow.

"I think Kasich needs New Hampshire more than Bush does. He's going to be nowhere near [him] in Iowa and South Carolina," Mackowiak said.

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com

Cruz hedges on controversial immigration posture

By Steve Benen
August 27, 2015

The obvious problem for Republicans watching Donald Trump with dismay is that the New York developer is dominating in practically every poll. The less obvious problem is his influence over the Republican conversation – and what happens when Trump’s rivals try to keep up.

The GOP frontrunner, for example, took a fairly bold line on birthright citizenship: just because someone is born on American soil, Trump argued, doesn’t make them an American citizen, 14th Amendment be damned. A new litmus test was born – soon, every Republican was pressed on the same issue.

Some struggled more than others. Just ask Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who offered three very different answers over the course of six days.

Also note what happened when Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to weigh in this week. Politico reported:

“What would President Cruz do? Do American citizen children of two illegal immigrants, who are born here, the children, get deported under a President Cruz?” Kelly asked. Donald Trump, she said, “has answered that question explicitly.”

“Megyn, I get that that’s the question you want to ask,” Cruz said. “That’s also the question every mainstream media liberal journalist wants to ask.”

After some dodges, the host asked, “Why is it so hard? Why don’t you just say yes or no?”

Rather than answering, the far-right senator retreated to the usual rhetoric: officials “can have a conversation” about this after “we’ve secured the border.”

This isn’t nearly as good an answer as Cruz thinks it is.

As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent noted yesterday, “Kelly is absolutely right to note, in the context of the birthright citizenship debate, that Trump has answered questions ‘explicitly,’ while Cruz won’t. This illustrates, once again, that Trump’s immigration plan, if you can call it that, has had the effect of making GOP evasions on the overall immigration issue much harder to sustain.

I agree, though I’d add just one thing. Last week, Cruz appeared on Michael Medved’s conservative talk-radio show and the Republican candidate told the host, “We should end granting automatic birthright citizenship to the children of those who are here illegally.” Cruz even elaborated on his approach, talking about pursuing a constitutional amendment.

Ordinarily, when politicians vacillate, they move in a predictable direction: they dodge questions, avoid specific answers, and then eventually take a controversial position. Cruz, like Walker a few days ago, is doing the exact opposite – both Republican candidates announced their opposition to birthright citizenship and then decided to retreat to ambiguity on the issue.

It’s actually the worst of both worlds. Cruz already adopted a radical posture, but when pressed on Fox News, he backed off, refusing to answer a question that Trump wasn’t afraid of, despite being wrong.

Bill Clinton’s famous formulation about “strong and wrong” topping “weak and right” comes to mind.

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Ted Cruz Is Stalking Donald Trump

National Journal
By Tim Alberta
August 27, 2015

Four days after Donald Trump drew tens of thousands of supporters to a modest, multipurpose football arena in this state, Ted Cruz stood 200 miles away inside a glass-enclosed suite overlooking the north end zone inside legendary Denny-Bryant Stadium. Here, in the home of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Cruz offered blistering critiques identical to those delivered by Trump—a nation in decline, an immigration crisis, a government corrupted by career politicians in both parties.

Yet Cruz, speaking to several hundred suit-and-tie Republicans at a plated dinner, offered key distinctions of style and substance. In a rhetorical routine perfected in Ivy League debate competitions and arguments before the Supreme Court, Cruz told his audience to beware of "campaign conservatives" who "talk a good game" while running for office. It's not enough to diagnose the problems ailing America; Republicans can only win, Cruz said, if they nominate "a consistent conservative" with a proven track record.

It wasn't difficult, on the heels of a Trump event that left the state buzzing, for attendees to pick up the message Cruz was laying down: It's great that Trump is exciting the electorate and drawing voters' attention to conservative causes. Just don't expect those causes to be championed by a candidate who long supported liberal politics before making a recent conversion to conservatism.

"Trump's message is resonating with people. They're upset about a lot of things, and he expresses the frustration they feel. But if they examine his stances on a whole range of issues, they'd find they are in disagreement with him," said Bill Stewart, the retired chairman of Alabama's political-science department, who sat in on Cruz's speech. "In the end, I think Trump will have generated the interest—and then Cruz will benefit from it."

This is precisely the endgame that Cruz and his team now visualize. It explains why Cruz has cozied up to Trump at a time when most of the Republican political class shunned him. It explains why the Texas senator refuses to utter a negative word about the real-estate mogul. And it explains why Cruz is stalking Trump—if not geographically (the Alabama trips were coincidence) then ideologically and rhetorically, making sure the two stay in lockstep on issues of the day so that voters who are energized by Trump's message but looking for a more polished messenger discover a natural transition to Cruz.

From the top down, in fact, Cruz's campaign has come to view Trump as an asset. Equipped with universal name-identification and celebrity appeal, Trump has a megaphone that Cruz could never dream of—even from his perch in Congress—to preach a fiery populism to angry voters. He has demonstrated a unique ability to galvanize conservatives (Cruz's base) and steer the 2016 conversation toward subjects like illegal immigration (Cruz's wheelhouse) that may otherwise have been secondary.

"The media dismissed illegal immigration as a problem, and because of Donald Trump they're actually talking about illegal immigration. I think that is very beneficial to our campaign," Cruz told me after the event in Tuscaloosa. "Because once the conversation shifts to illegal immigration, the discussion naturally turns to 'What is the record of the different candidates when it comes to standing up and fighting to stop illegal immigration?' I've been leading the fight to stop illegal immigration—and my record is markedly different from other Republican candidates in that regard."

Or, as one Cruz adviser put it: "Without Trump in the race, we'd be having a nice debate over tax policy right now. Instead we're talking about 'anchor babies.'"

Riding in a rented Chevy Equinox along Interstate-20 from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham, Cruz repeatedly declined to say whether Trump was one such GOP rival he had differences with. He said there are "seasons to a campaign" and hinted that he would soon be adopting a more aggressive approach in drawing contrasts with his opponents. But Cruz made it clear that he won't be picking a fight with Trump anytime soon.

"Many of the Republican candidates have gone out of their way to take a two-by-four to Donald Trump," Cruz said, smiling. "I think that's a mistake."

IN THE COURSE of an hourlong conversation, Cruz refused at least five opportunities to offer any policy distinction with Trump. Sipping black-raspberry-flavored sparkling water and wearing glasses after a long day on the trail, Cruz appeared fatigued but also wary of going off-message when it came to questions about the man he now sometimes refers to simply as "Donald."

The closest thing to a critique came when I asked Cruz whether he agreed that Trump has "leverage" over the GOP. "I don't know. I am grateful he is focusing the media's attention on illegal immigration, and I'm grateful he's causing more and more people to pay attention to this race," Cruz said. "I also believe at the end of the day, that Republican primary voters are going to look for a consistent conservative, someone who has walked the walk—who has been a fiscal conservative, a social conservative, a national security conservative, and who has the record to demonstrate that consistency."

The Cruz camp is confident that Trump's candidacy will have a natural arc, that eventually political gravity will pull his numbers down, and that when it happens, Cruz will be ideally positioned to absorb his current supporters.

Yet the senator did not hesitate to comment on other primary opponents—Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush—that he differs with on immigration, among other issues. (In the ultimate backhanded compliment, Cruz said of Bush: "I will commend him for his candor. He has been quite explicit embracing positions on amnesty, on Common Core, that are markedly out of step with where Republican primary voters are.")

Asked about the inconsistency of making those remarks about Bush while insisting that it's presently inappropriate to comment on Trump, Cruz took a long pause. "There will come a time as the campaign moves forward when additional policy differences may well be merited," he said. "I don't believe we're in that phase of the campaign."

Cruz admitted that he has "bent over backwards" to avoid insulting Trump. Asked for an explanation, the senator avoided any talk of strategy and instead pointed to the people behind this summer's Trump phenomenon.

"Donald Trump is attracting significant crowds and significant passion of people who are ticked off at Washington and fed up with politicians who say one thing and do another. I don't think it's beneficial when those politicians deride those people as 'crazies,'" Cruz said, referencing a remark made by Sen. John McCain. "I'd like for every one of those people to show up in November 2016 and be knocking on doors and making phone calls and sending emails."

It's a valid point, especially from a candidate who argues regularly that the McCain and Mitt Romney lost in 2008 and 2012 because they did not energize the base. Now that Trump appears to be doing just that, Cruz advisers feel strongly that an attack on Trump is tantamount to an attack on the people at his rallies.

But there's a simpler explanation for why Cruz isn't attacking Trump: He doesn't think he needs to.

The Cruz camp is confident that Trump's candidacy will have a natural arc, that eventually political gravity will pull his numbers down, and that when it happens, Cruz will be ideally positioned to absorb his current supporters. In the meantime, Trump will sustain plenty of attacks from other opponents. And as an added bonus for Cruz's hands-off approach, Trump is doing his dirty work. The real-estate mogul has been especially harsh lately on Scott Walker, long considered by Cruz's camp to be their most direct competition in Iowa because of his appeal to both evangelicals and tea-partiers.

Most consequentially, Cruz allies see Trump on a collision course with Bush—especially in New Hampshire, the state Bush needs to win and where Trump's numbers and organization are strongest—and predict that "Armageddon" between those two candidates would greatly weaken both the establishment favorite and the anti-establishment front-runner.

There is a downside to Trump's candidacy, of course. Cruz understands that Trump is denying him political oxygen at the moment, and is making the senator's stated goal—uniting the conservative vote in order to eventually defeat Bush or whoever consolidates the moderate vote—considerably harder. But Cruz and his team have concluded that an alliance with Trump is not only smart, but necessary, in this game of political survivor.

"I don't think they see each other as rivals at this point. I think they're allies, actually," said Brent Bozell, the prominent conservative activist who endorsed Cruz last month. "Now at the end of the day, this thing is going to get winnowed down. And it's like two friends who are heavyweight boxers: If they end up No. 1 and No. 2, of course they're going to duke it out."

CRUZ'S INNER CIRCLE doesn't foresee any such a scenario, because they simply do not see an organization to harness the energy Trump is generating on the stump.

Part of their calculus in taking a hands-off approach to Trump is that his massive crowds and wall-to-wall media coverage has not translated into a strong grassroots presence needed to compete in the early primary states. This was visible last week, Cruz advisers pointed out, when a handful of candidates showed up for an event in South Carolina. Virtually every GOP contender, including those not present, had volunteers there holding up signs and handing out literature—and there wasn't a single piece of Trump signage to be seen or found.

Cruz lags far behind Trump in terms of national name-identification, but he has no shortage of grassroots support in the early states. His "Rally for Religious Liberty" in Des Moines last week drew upwards of 2,500 people attending the event, making it one of the largest political events in Iowa this year.

"A lot of people will come to watch Donald Trump rant and rave. I don't know how many of those people will come out when it's cold as a witch's tit on a February night to a church or high school to vote," said Steve Deace, a conservative Iowa radio host who endorsed Cruz last week and then emceed the Des Moines event. "I know this: Every one of those 3,000 people Cruz drew to his rally on Friday, every single one of those people is going to caucus."

This explains why, despite Trump overshadowing the race this summer, Cruz views his path to victory as essentially unchanged since launching his campaign in March at Liberty University.

The senator has always envisioned consolidating the evangelical and tea-party wings of the GOP behind his campaign, armed with an uncompromising record on the core issues that appeal to both. Not only do Cruz allies believe Trump will struggle to convert admirers into voters; they think his record, once scrutinized, will repel those conservative voters currently supporting him.

Cruz and his allies predict that, come fall, Cruz will begin to reap the anti-establishment sentiment sewn by the Summer of Trump, especially in Iowa. The evangelical lane there is crowded, but Cruz's next battle—a bloody fight next month over defunding Planned Parenthood that could lead to another government shutdown—is an opportunity for the senator to set himself apart.

Another key component of Cruz's strategy has been to win endorsements from conservative leaders, in theory producing a trickle-down effect that, when paired with Cruz's own grassroots organizing, would produce a "unified movement" behind him. The early endorsements of Bozell and Deace could foreshadow bigger catches to come. Indeed, there is mounting speculation within the conservative movement that several major players are poised to line up behind Cruz this fall. Nationally, the biggest target is Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. And in Iowa, all eyes are on two people: evangelical leader Bob Vander Plaats and Rep. Steve King, whose two closest political lieutenants, including his son, Jeff, both recently signed on with a pro-Cruz super PAC.

Cruz is thought to be the favorite of both kingmakers. Trump, on the other hand isn't likely to receive consideration from either—yet another reason for Cruz to hold his fire on Trump. "If they both endorse Cruz, he's going to win Iowa," Deace said of King and Vander Plaats. "Guaranteed."

Meanwhile, back in Alabama Tuesday night, Cruz was working on another endorsement. Mo Brooks, the conservative congressman who has allied himself with Cruz and King against immigration-reform efforts, was honored by the Tuscaloosa County GOP's Republican of the Year. The two lawmakers shared the stage and traded flatteries before a dark-red audience that appeared enamored of both.

Brooks told me afterward he hasn't made up his mind whom to endorse—despite comparing Cruz to Ronald Reagan—and admitted he has been captivated by the Trump phenomenon.

"Hyperbole is a very important part of politics. And Donald Trump, to his credit, is a master of hyperbole," Brooks said. "He has celebrity status, and people flock to see celebrities. But as time goes by, people will look closer at a candidate's history. And Ted Cruz has a track record."

For more information, go to:  www.beverlyhillsimmigrationlaw.com