Trump tees off on Biden’s immigration measures at Wisconsin rally

Former President Trump on Tuesday put the issue of immigration and border security at the center of his pitch to Wisconsin voters, suggesting his anti-immigration policies would boost his standing with key voting blocs.

Trump held a rally in Racine, about 30 miles south of Milwaukee, where Republicans will gather for the GOP convention next month. He opened his remarks by addressing the backlash to his reported comments that Milwaukee was a “horrible city” during a closed-door meeting with House Republicans.

“You know, I love Milwaukee. I was the one that picked Milwaukee,” Trump told the crowd.

Wisconsin is poised to play a major role in November’s election between Trump and President Biden. Trump narrowly won the state in 2016, then lost it to Biden in 2020 by roughly 20,000 votes. A Decision Desk HQ/The Hill average of polls shows Biden leading in Wisconsin by 1 percentage point.

Most of Trump’s remarks were focused on immigration, following an announcement from the Biden White House on executive action that would allow certain immigrants lacking documentation who are married to U.S. citizens to stay in the country and work legally.

“Crooked Joe is sending a message to the world that he rewards illegal entry, and that’s what’s happening,” Trump said.

“Don’t kid yourself, the ones that are hurt the most, the Black population, the Hispanic population,” he continued. “And you know who else is hurt badly? Unions.”

Majorities of each of those voting groups backed Biden in 2020. But polling has shown Trump making inroads with Black and Hispanic voters in particular, which could hurt Biden in November.

At one point, as Trump claimed, without evidence, that countries around the world were emptying jails and sending migrants to the southern border, his supporters began chanting, “Send them back.”

Trump vowed to reverse Biden’s immigration measures if he is reelected. He also repeated the claim parroted by many Republicans on Tuesday that Biden’s measure was a political ploy to enroll new voters ahead of November’s election.

Biden’s immigration relief: What to know about parole in place expansion

“The Biden betrayal is not going to stand. When I’m reelected, Joe Biden’s illegal amnesty plan will be ripped up and thrown out on the very first day that we’re back in office,” Trump said. “Because he’s just using that group. But he’s going to let everybody come in, because you know what they’re trying to do, they’re trying to sign these people up and register them.”

Biden’s announcement came as he marked the 12th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program at the White House with immigrant advocacy and Latino leaders.

The expansion of parole in place, as the regularization program is known, will be paired with measures to make the work visa application easier for immigrants living in the country illegally — particularly DACA beneficiaries — who have graduated from U.S. colleges.

Beneficiaries won’t receive new privileges; existing paths to regularize their migratory status will be streamlined under the new rules.

To be eligible, prospective parolees must have been in the United States for 10 years as of Monday.

Biden earlier this month took executive action to turn away migrants seeking asylum who cross the southern border illegally at times when there is a high volume of daily encounters.

“Folks, I’m not interested in playing politics on the border or immigration. I’m interested in fixing it,” Biden said Tuesday.

Polling has shown immigration is a top issue for many voters ahead of November’s presidential election, and surveys have consistently showed voters trust Trump more than Biden on the issue.

A Marquette University survey of registered voters nationwide conducted last month found 52 percent said Trump did a better job on immigration and border security, compared to 25 percent who said Biden did a better job.

Democrats on Tuesday ripped Trump over his jobs record in Wisconsin and over reports that he’d planned to stay at his Chicago property instead of in Milwaukee during the Republican convention, something Trump’s campaign denied.

“Donald Trump has made his contempt for Wisconsin well-known,” Democratic National Committee spokesperson Addy Toevs said in a statement. “Trump presided over the loss of 80,000 jobs for Wisconsin families during his tenure, with at least 1,000 lost in Racine alone, and touted a project that wasted millions in taxpayer dollars for a manufacturing plant he couldn’t follow through on. Trump doesn’t know — or care — about working Wisconsinites’ experiences.”

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