Former Telemundo broadcast journalist and Republican candidate for Congress, Maria Elvira Salazar, is leaning into President Donald Trump’s anti-birthright citizenship rhetoric despite running to represent a district that is over 70 percent Latinx with half a million undocumented individuals.
At a voting precinct in West Miami-Dade County Wednesday, Salazar called for a review of the 14th Amendment, which dictates that anyone born on U.S. soil is a U.S. citizen, calling it a “complicated” issue.
“It is also true that this is a country of laws and a country where you have to respect the Constitution and if the Constitution says that people born in this country have to become American citizens, but we have to see which ones, and who they are and under what rules — not just anyone,” she said, according to the Miami Herald.
“The first clause of the 14th Amendment needs to be reviewed, but I think the president is saying what I think my community shares, the fact that we do not want abuses,” Salazar added. “The Constitution says very clearly that those that are born here are citizens, but we need to see to what extent.”
This is a significant change from initial comments Salazar made on Tuesday, when news of Trump’s alleged proposal was first reported by Axios.
“@realDonaldTrump, our Constitution is sacred! Birthright Citizenship is protected and you cannot change that by executive order,” she tweeted on Tuesday. “Focus efforts on immigration reform that secures our borders and is true to our legacy of being a nation of immigrants.”
.@realDonaldTrump, our Constitution is sacred! Birthright Citizenship is protected and you cannot change that by executive order. Focus efforts on immigration reform that secures our borders and is true to our legacy of being a nation of immigrants. https://t.co/h5FIkmRopf
— Maria Elvira Salazar 🇺🇸 (@MaElviraSalazar) October 30, 2018
While over three million Floridians have already cast their ballots in the midterm election, it will be interesting to see if Salazar’s flip-flop bears any weight with the hundreds of thousands of Latinx voters in FL-27. Despite the overwhelming numbers of Latinxs in the district, chances are, they will play surprisingly well, especially among Cuban-Americans who helped Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen hold the seat for nearly three decades, even though FL-27 is the most Democratic district in the state.
The district, which encompasses the eastern portion of Miami-Dade county including the city of Miami, Little Havana, Little Haiti, Coral Gables, and Miami Beach, has a population of nearly 298,440 Cuban-Americans. Cuban-Americans tend to vote consistently more Republican than their other Latinx counterparts and, while Trump believes he won 84 percent of their vote, that number is closer to 50 to 58 percent.
When it comes to immigration, Republican Cuban-Americans like Ros-Lehtinen and Sen. Marco Rubio have taken a harder line compared to other Latinx politicians, and Salazar seems to be following suit.
The Republican Cuban-American argument against liberal immigration policies is along the lines of “well, you have to follow the rules when you immigrate to the U.S.” That’s an easy argument to make when for decades Cubans were protected by a Cold War era policy that allowed Cubans to become permanent residents after living in the United States for just one year. That policy was ended by President Barack Obama in 2016.
Meanwhile, the millions of Central and South Americans fleeing similarly distressing and dangerous political climates in their countries of origin are being mistreated at the border for simply claiming asylum.