Turning Point USA brings Immigration debate to Mankato

Michael McShane
Staff Writer

Minnesota State University, Mankato’s newly created chapter of the conservative advocacy group, Turning Point USA, produced its first event on campus. TPUSA representative and frequent Fox News commentator, Anna Paulina, spoke at the event.

The event, titled “Immigration in Modern America” was to talk about the issue of illegal immigration rather than immigration in general. 

Paulina, an Air Force veteran, has been involved in the debate on illegal immigration since she was a part of the non-profit organization, Veterans for Child Rescue, which saves children who have been trafficked across the U.S. Mexico border. It was through this organization that Paulina saw how serious of an issue sex trafficking has become.

Introduced by the TPUSA chapter president, Noah LaSalvia, Paulina began her speech explaining how she came to view the border crisis as more than just stopping illegal immigrants, but to stop an even more life-threatening issue that is sex trafficking.

“There is no argument to say that, whether you are left or right, that illegal immigration does have a correlated issue with the human trafficking aspect, not to mention the drug issue,” Paulina said.

Paulina talked about how human trafficking is becoming more widely operated than drugs by organized crime as she explained, “humans are essentially a renewable resource.”

Paulina tells the story of a woman named Karla Jacinto, a victim of sex trafficking who was raped over 43,000 times over a four-year timespan. Jacinto was rescued and has since become an advocate for the end to the sex trafficking of women and children.

She continued to speak on illegal immigration and how the problem of sex trafficking justifies the family separation policy. 

The family separation policy that the Trump Administration has pushed during President Donald Trump’s presidency has been criticized by Democrats and liberal commentators as being inherently cruel to incoming immigrants.

Paulina sees it differently as she believes the possibility of migrant children coming into the country with potential sex traffickers makes the policy worth it in the long run. 

“I would much rather have a child temporarily separated from someone that’s claiming to be their father, mother, whatever it might be, and be able to determine biologically if they’re related instead of delivering them into the very hands that would exploit them,” said Paulina.

Paulina, whose grandparents immigrated from Mexico themselves, supports legal immigration and has other members of her family in Mexico trying to get their own visas, but are experiencing difficulties because of backlogged courts due to the border crisis.

Speaking to the crowd, some adorned with the well-known, red “Make America Great Again” hats, popular among Trump supporters. Paulina maintained during her speech that TPUSA was not affiliated with any political party, but rather conservative ideals.

After the speech, Paulina opened the floor for people to ask her questions on the subject. It didn’t take long for a line to manifest.

The first question to be asked is what ways could there be to make comprehension immigration reform laws that would allow lawful immigrants into the country be passed. 

“Unfortunately, right now, and I can tell you guys, I’ve been out of D.C. awhile and what happens is you have people who do not want to work together,” said Paulina, concerning the partisanship that has caused heavy gridlock on Capitol Hill.

Another question asked if decriminalizing drugs would help alleviate the problem of illegal immigration. Paulina immediately took this question to heart and strongly believed the decriminalization of drugs would trade one issue with an even deadlier one.

“This is my opinion and not affiliated with Turning Point,” Paulina began. “In my opinion, I don’t agree with federally legalizing just any drug.” She goes on to tell how many in her family has suffered due to drug addiction, many losing their lives because of heroin and meth, “I myself in no way shape or form would ever want to decriminalize that because it kills people.”

She did say however that she was for common-sense marijuana legalization on the federal level that would benefit state economies and decrease the illegal traffic of the drug from South American countries.

A question asked about the documented cases of children being put in harm’s way at the facilities they’re placed in, she put the blame on the migrant parents that bring them over the borders. 

“When you are exposing your child to an insane journey, which most capable, able adults would not be able to make themselves, that is unfortunately something affiliated with the parent,” Paulina said.

Paulina went on to answer more questions and talked to the crowd until there were no more questions. Ending the event, the chapter president Noah LaSalvia wrapped up, thanking everyone who came. Paulina herself stayed and spoke to members of the crowd who came to the event.

Header photo by Samuel Oluwadoromi | MSU Reporter.

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