Watch How One Freedom Caucus Member Sees the GOP’s Latino Voter Problem | Immigration Battle | FRONTLINE | PBS


Within the wake of Speaker John Boehner’s abrupt announcement final month that he’ll be stepping down from Congress, Home Republicans are at present scrambling to determine new Congressional management.

However the occasion is going through longer-term inner debates as properly.

Amongst them: Easy methods to interact with America’s rising variety of Latino voters — a bloc that within the 2012 election sided with President Barack Obama by 71 %. His Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, received simply 29 % of that vote.

Tonight, in Immigration Battle — a particular, two-hour documentary introduced by FRONTLINE and Unbiased Lens — Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., a member of the Home Freedom Caucus that is credited with forcing Boehner to step down, speaks about that dilemma with uncommon candor.

And all of it begins with a bit of fruit.

In August 2013 — as immigration reform was shifting via Congress — undocumented immigrants took to Capitol Hill to hand-deliver cantaloupes to 221 Republicans. They did so after a member of the occasion, Rep. Steve King of Iowa, advised an viewers that for each immigrant within the U.S. illegally who turns into a valedictorian, “there’s one other 100 on the market who weigh 130 kilos and so they’ve received calves the dimensions of cantaloupes as a result of they’re hauling 75 kilos of marijuana throughout the desert.”

“I would like you to consider the message and the way in which that message was conveyed,” Mulvaney says about King’s remark on this excerpt from Immigration Battle, addressing a gaggle of voters in Goose Creek, South Carolina. “Take into consideration how offended we had made any individual, to try this, with that assertion. Take into consideration whether or not or not that particular person is ever, ever going to contemplate voting for [a] Republican candidate ever once more.”

Merely put, he says, the occasion has to “cease rewarding the outrageous and the silly.”

“Sooner or later, we’re gonna have to determine that in the event you take your complete African-American neighborhood and write them off, take your complete Hispanic neighborhood and write them off, take your complete Libertarian neighborhood and write them off, take your complete homosexual neighborhood and write them off, what’s left? About 38 % of the nation,” he says. “You can not win with 38 % of the nation.”

Then, Mulvaney provides one other warning:

If the following Republican candidate for President will get the identical proportion of the Hispanic vote that Mitt Romney received [in Texas], we are going to lose Texas — not in 2024, not in 2020, however in 2016 … And if we lose Texas, of us, I’ve received information for you, we’re by no means going to elect a Republican president once more.

Immigration Battle — from acclaimed impartial filmmakers Shari Robertson and Michael Camerini — premieres tonight on PBS. Drawing on uncommon, candid entry to Democrats and Republicans all through 2013 and 2014, the movie reveals the untold story of the push for bipartisan immigration reform after President Obama’s reelection — and exhibits simply how shut Congress actually got here to passing a invoice, earlier than Obama’s govt motion redrew the battle strains.

With political dialogue round immigration extra polarized than ever within the runup to the 2016 presidential election, Immigration Battle is a robust piece of context for an ongoing nationwide battle. Examine your native PBS listings for airtimes.


Patrice Taddonio

Patrice Taddonio, Digital Author & Viewers Growth Strategist, FRONTLINE