John Morganelli adores Trump, and once encouraged people to join an anti-immigrant hate group. If he had his way on the issue, it could cost the Pennsylvania economy hundreds of millions of dollars.
Pro-Trump, anti-immigrant rhetoric has become a staple in today's Republican Party. But John Morganelli is embracing those views while running for Congress as a supposed Democrat.
And his views are not just wildly out of the mainstream. A study shows his anti-immigrant policies could cost Pennsylvania more than $357 million.
Morganelli is vehemently opposed to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program started by President Obama to give legal protections to those brought to the United States as children, many of whom know no other home. Around 800,000 people, known as Dreamers, participate in the program.
Morganelli's opinion of DACA is out of touch with Americans of all political views, and especially Democrats.
A recent ABC/Washington Post poll found that 95 percent of Democrats support DACA. Even 76 percent of Republicans support the program that Morganelli opposes.
Pennsylvania is home to about 5,000 Dreamers, young people Morganelli would like to deport. When Congress was debating the Dream Act — legislation to give permanent legal protections to these young Americans — Morganelli was adamantly opposed.
And he was quite proud of it.
"I’ve testified in Washington years ago against the Dream Act," he proudly told the Lehigh Valley Tea Party gathering, to much applause.
"FAIR leaders have ties to white supremacist groups," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Yet this is the group Morganelli openly admits he looks to for information about immigration.
"If DACA ends ... hundreds of thousands of young people will be forced out of the workforce, upending their lives and the lives of their families, creating tremendous disruption for businesses, and sending shockwaves through the economies of most states," according to a study from the Center for American Progress(CAP).
Further, "CAP estimates that ending DACA would result in a loss of $460.3 billion from the national GDP over the next decade. Ending DACA would remove an estimated 685,000 workers from the nation’s economy."
The impact for Pennsylvania alone would be more than $357 million.
Morganelli's adoration of Trump and his anti-immigrant views threaten Pennsylvania's growing economy. Across the state, Republicans tried to use anti-immigrant scare tactics to win a traditionally Republican district outside of Pittsburgh. But voters rejected the hate, and embraced Democrat Conor Lamb.
Ever since its founding by William Penn, Pennsylvania has welcomed diversity and shunned bigotry. Morganelli's hateful views have betrayed that heritage.
Morganelli is claiming to be a Democrat. But he is nothing of the kind. In Congress, he would likely be a rubber-stamp for Trump's economically dangerous anti-immigrant agenda.
And the people of Pennsylvania would pay a high price for it.