A Lifelong Republican Leaves the GOP by Managing Partner, Jacob M. Monty.
Originally Published by the Houston Chronicle
A LIFELONG REPUBLICAN LEAVES THE GOP
JACOB MONTILIJO MONTY
“I am a lifelong Republican. Over the decades, I have given or raised more than $1 million for the GOP and its candidates including President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain and Governor Greg Abbott. I support the oil and gas industries. I own guns and love hunting. I stand with Israel. I am committed to free enterprise and owe my living to the small businesses and entrepreneurs who are my law firm’s clients.
The guiding star behind my political activism is comprehensive immigration reform. As an immigration attorney in Houston, I can tell you that repairing our broken immigration system is critical to our local economy and to industries that depend heavily on immigrant labor, like agriculture, home health and hospitality.
As the descendent of Mexican immigrants, I have too often felt the sting of ignorant, nativist words about Latinos from my fellow Republicans, but I always believed that somehow, ultimately, my Party would see the benefits of codifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), implementing efficient guest worker programs, vetting the 11 million undocumented immigrants and regularizing their status.
That’s what motivated me to meet with Donald Trump and his high command in the summer of 2016. His words that day were promising. He acknowledged that Latino immigrants fulfill a critical need by doing the work that others refuse to do. He agreed with me that doing nothing amounted to de facto “amnesty” since nobody had vetted the 11 million undocumented immigrants already here. He promised action.
I bought it hook, line and sinker. I agreed to serve on Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council and went on Spanish language television to urge Latinos to give him a second look.
After a few days, Trump went before an audience in Phoenix with a combative, red meat nativist stemwinder that left no doubt where he stood.
“This election is our last chance to secure the border, stop illegal immigration and reform our laws to make your life better,” Trump shouted. He vowed “no amnesty” for undocumented migrants and promised to build a “beautiful” and “impenetrable” wall. Describing a nation besieged by “illegal alien” crime, he vowed a “deportation task force” that would identify and quickly remove “the most dangerous criminal illegal aliens in America.”
I had been lied to and manipulated. I resigned from Trump’s Hispanic Advisory Council immediately. I remained active with the Republican Party, though. I still believed that the commonsense, pro-business conservatives I knew in the GOP would eventually see Trump’s angry carnival barking for what it is.
As a Republican, watching thousands of Trump supporters invade the Capitol literally brought tears to my eyes. As the descendent of immigrants, I revere the United States Capitol and all it stands for. To see it desecrated — at the urging of a Republican President — broke my heart.
To my dismay, once the insurrectionists were cleared from the building, the vast majority of the Texas Republican Congressional delegation – Senator Ted Cruz and 16 of Texas’ 22 House Republicans – proceeded to obey the rioters. They voted to ignore the election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania so they could turn the Presidency over to Donald Trump.
They might as well have joined the insurrectionists in smashing the windows and rampaging through the Capitol. Just like them, these 17 Texas Republicans subverted our democracy to humor the delusions of a President who clearly lost by a landslide.
If my fellow Republicans are so blind they can defy reality and ignore the legal votes of millions of American citizens, there is no way I can convince them of the rightness of comprehensive immigration reform.
There is simply no room for room for me in the GOP any longer.
I will continue my efforts toward comprehensive immigration reform as a Democrat.
I do so with my eyes open. I have plenty of differences with some extremists in my new political party, just as I did with the old one. For instance, I believe that the “Green New Deal” is a “bad” deal that would put radical politics ahead of our economic survival. While I do not agree with every word of some Democrats’ agenda, I am excited by President Biden’s introduction of sweeping immigration reform bill just hours after he was sworn in, and I am determined to help him pass it.
Both political parties have always had their fringe elements, but without any guiding principle beyond mindless adherence to Trump, the GOP has surrendered itself to them. Q-Anon conspiracies have become mainstream in a Party that has now unquestioningly adopted Trump’s fantasies about the 2020 election.
I will work with the vast majority of Democrats and the minority of Republicans to help President Biden pass a pro-business, comprehensive immigration plan that will reflect the nation’s center – and our best instincts as a people.
As for the Republicans? Enough. I’m out. “
JACOB MONTILIJO MONTY is a Houston-based immigration lawyer and has been a longtime Republican activist.