Mexico Center director available to discuss Trump’s immigration speech


David Ruth

Mexico Center director available to discuss Trump’s immigration speech

HOUSTON – (Aug. 29, 2016) – On Sunday, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump announced that he will give a “major” immigration speech Wednesday in Arizona.

Tony Payan, the director of the Mexico Center at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is available for interviews prior to and after Trump’s remarks.

“In the last few days, we have seen Republican candidate Donald J. Trump break with his categorical statements regarding immigration,” Payan said. “After having insisted that there would be no amnesty and that it was possible to round up 10 million to 11million undocumented migrants living in the United States and deport them, he has now wavered, arguing that he did not mean it and later saying that they would have to exit and come back in and finally that the focus would be on criminal aliens — an already long-established policy of the Obama administration.

“The shifts in rhetorical stands have put Mr. Trump on the defensive, first with the general public, which continues to favor some form of legalization, and finally with his own political base, most of which disapproves of any kind of path to legalization for undocumented workers,” he said.

“The reason for Mr. Trump’s change on immigration may have to do with his collapse in support among Latino voters,” Payan said. “Although immigration is not at the very top of Latino priorities — the economy and employment are No. 1 and No. 2 — they tend to favor a more open policy on immigration. Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney took only about 23 percent of the Latino vote, the lowest ever, especially after President Bush captured around 40 percent. But Mr. Trump’s support among Latinos has collapsed to 20 percent or less, leaving Democrats with a 55 to 60 percentage-point advantage and imperiling some Republican seats in heavily Hispanic states as well as solidifying Latino support for Democrats for several elections to come.”

Rice University’s Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for national bookings. For more information or to schedule an interview with Payan, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6327.


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Founded in 1893, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top 10 university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

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About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.