National Civil Rights Leaders Decry Raw Racism of Trump

Amidst Principled Negotiations on the Dream Act, Trump Shows That One Value Drives His Decisions Above All Others: White Supremacy

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, the raw racism of Donald Trump and those driving his immigration and other policy making decisions were on full display as he called for fewer Black people to be admitted into the United States in favor of white immigrants. This morning, the President doubled down on his comments offering a weak justification for his racist viewpoint.

Today, civil rights and immigrant rights organization leaders offered their perspectives on Trump’s disturbing comments and their call for a return to a principle-driven negotiations on the Dream Act.

Click here for a recording of the call.

Speakers included Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; Jonathan Jayes-Green, Co-Founder and Director, UndocuBlack Network; Clarissa Martínez-de-Castro, Deputy Vice President, UnidosUS; Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director, The Advancement Project; Cristina Jimenez, Executive Director and Co-Founder of United We Dream; Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP.

Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said:

“The President’s words were simply racist, repugnant, and reprehensible, and they have no place in our political discourse. Congress must prove that America’s founding values and principles are more than words by repudiating the President’s disgusting remarks and passing bipartisan legislation now to protect Dreamers and families covered by Temporary Protected Status.”

Jonathan Jayes-Green, Co-Founder and Director, Undocublack Network, said:

“This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that Trump blatantly disregards people of African descent. But what this does is that it eliminates the ability of Congress to plead ignorance. There is no other reason to scrap the Diversity visa program and providing protections for TPS holders than blatant racism on his part.

“Congress, you have a choice to make: Either side with this racist agenda or protect immigrant communities now. We need a clean Dream Act NOW. We need to protect the Diversity program and we need a permanent solution for TPS holders including Haitians, Salvadorans, Liberia,  Sierra Leone,  Guinea and the rest of nations.”

Judith Browne Dianis, Executive Director, Advancement Project’s national office, said:

“When Trump says something like ‘shithole countries,’ he’s devaluing people of color who have contributed to this country for hundreds of years. Our worth is not in question. We need to put this in perspective: Trump is calling for a racial purge. His policies around TPS and DACA would remove more than a million people from the country—mostly people of color.

“The question for Congress, then, is whose side are you on. Congress must act or be considered complicit. It is not enough to condemn harsh words. They must protect TPS holders, Dreamers, and other immigrants who contribute to our country. As we near the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, we are reminded that history is watching. The moment calls for courage and radical action, not words.”

Cristina Jimenez, Executive Director and Co-Founder of United We Dream, said:

“This is a moment of moral reckoning for this country. Every single member of Congress must choose: will you pass the Dream Act and act on values of justice, dignity, and the belief that all of us are created equal, or will you stand with white supremacy.

“By January 19th, Congress must pass the Dream Act to protect immigrant youth from deportation and protect families who are protected by the TPS program. We saw Trump’s racism in action just yesterday when a mob of Trump supporters who shouted “white power” and stalked immigrant youth as they traveled to Republican offices through Southern California.  But in this moment we are leading with courage and love, and nothing is going to stop us from this fight, because we know what is right.”

Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League, said:

“President Trump’s crude comments further reveal the repugnant racial motivations behind his administration’s immigration policies. It is incumbent upon Congress to stand firm for American principles and immediately enact bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers. We in the Urban League’s Movement believe, like most Americans, that this nation must remain ‘Mother of Exiles’ and that the ‘tempest-tost’ may seek refuge here.”

Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP, said:

“As I arrive in Los Angeles to celebrate the 49th annual NAACP Image Award, where we’ll honor members of the Memphis Sanitation Workers strike of 1968  who demonstrated courage necessary to make democracy work for all. I recognize the current political landscape, a landscape in which the president of this nation lacks the moral courage necessary to lead. He has demonstrated time and time again that he simply cannot grasp the concept of inclusion, the concept of democracy, the concept of respecting an individual’s humanity.  I’ve spoken to Haitian leaders and individuals across the country who are from African nations and the level of outrage I am hearing is a level read about in the history books and during the civil rights movement when African Americans and African descendants felt a level of persecution that no American citizen or individual should feel. Not only should Congress denounce the president’s statements, they should continue to support our history of inclusion and pass the Dream Act.”

Clarissa Martínez-de-Castro, Deputy Vice President, UnidosUS, said:

“What Latinos have witnessed, first on the campaign trail and now in the policies being advanced by this administration, is an all out assault against our community. The President’s comments yesterday continue to provide proof of what underlies that assault, and to unmask the  underpinnings of proposals floated by Senator Cotton, Rep. Goodlatte and Steve Miller: a strategy to weaken the ties that bind us as Americans, by pitting one community against another and demonizing millions in the process. This is an attempt to undermine what the majority of Americans consider one of our greatest national assets—our country’s diversity.

“For America’s Latino community, 9 out of 10 of whom are United States Citizens, the time for shallow condemnation and cringing is long over. Members of Congress who continue issuing statements to distance themselves from racist comments also need to take action to distance themselves from racist policies. The many who have voiced the need to address the plight of Dreamers have a clear decision to make: they can either support serious bipartisan negotiations happening in good faith and achieve a solution by January 19th, or not. There is no gray area here. A failure to stand for a solution is an embrace of racialized policy-making designed to persecute contributing immigrants based on the color of their skin, and in doing so continue to be complicit in the maligning of Latino and Black communities regardless of immigration status. And there is no amount of hand-wringing or excuses that can cover that up.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit