Philadelphia – Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey on Monday laid out what he thinks the United States would look like if Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump gets elected to the White House this fall.
Strict immigration controls, a hawkish foreign policy agenda and a return to systemic racism were a few of the things Menendez said were possible if Trump is elected in November.
"I know that is not the morning in America that I want to wake up to," Menendez said Wednesday during the Hispanic caucus at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Menendez and a host of other Democratic lawmakers who attended the caucus painted a stark picture of the differences between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in terms of the Latino community.
The elected officials gathered inside a ballroom at the Philadelphia Convention Center denounced Trumps immigration plans, which call for the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants and the construction of an enormous wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and contrasted the Republican nominee's proposals with that of Clinton.
The former Secretary of State under President Barack Obama has called for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and the end of privately-run immigrant detention centers. Both have denounced the recent raids on young Central American migrants seeking asylum in the U.S.
"I know I am with Hillary Clinton because she is with us," Menendez said.
The lawmakers also touted how the 2016 presidential election is arguably the most important race in history for Latinos, with issues like immigration, the economy, healthcare and education hanging on the balance.
"This election is personal," Rep. Xavier Becerra of California said. "This election is about us."
While Clinton enjoys a sizable advantage in the polls over Trump among Latinos – with 62 percent of registered Hispanic voters saying they would head to the ballot box for Clinton in November compared to only 23 percent for Trump, according to a recent Fox News Latino poll – the question remains over whether or not the group will show up in force on Election Day.
In the 2012 election, the turnout rate for Latinos was only 48 percent and Democrats say they are relying on Latinos to have a better showing this year as Trump has lured in a sizable portion of white, working-class voters to his base.
"We have a lot riding on this election, Rep. Linda Sanchez of California said.
Sanchez, whose sister Loretta is running for a seat in the Senate, also spoke about the importance of winning back control of the upper house and how it's important to vote for Latino candidates up and down the ballot. Besides her sister, Sanchez rattled off a list of Latinos running for federal office and said that with her sister, and former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, running for the Senate, the U.S. could have its first Latina senator come 2017.
"We will send a Latina to the U.S. Senate this cycle," she said.
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