"For months everyone said someone else will catch on, but it seems that they better start catching because he's moving down the road," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said at a roundtable with reporters, most from Hispanic media outlets.
"For me it's kind of scary what he talks about," he continued, adding that he thinks Trump will be the GOP nominee. Reid endorsed Democrat and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Trump won the Republican caucuses in Reid's home state on Tuesday, his third consecutive victory after the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries. Trump came in second to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in the Iowa caucuses.
Those victories came in spite of Trump's derogatory statements about Mexicans, Muslims, women and plenty more groups and individuals. Pundits and politicians predicted for months that Trump would be unsuccessful and drop out, but his wins indicate large portions of the GOP base support him regardless of his comments.
In other words, everyone, including Democrats, has to grapple with the fact that Trump's views aren't necessarily on the fringe, including on immigration.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the only Latino Democratic senator, said he's "never seen a greater confluence of challenges at one time" for the Latino community.
"When I look at what is happening across the landscape of the political discourse in this country and I hear the language about walls and deportation and no more birthright citizenship and the list goes on and on, I recoil thinking that we are going back to a time and place that none of us want to go to," he said.
He said he has "learned over a lifetime that [comments about undocumented immigrants] are not about the undocumented alone, they're about all of us," referring to Latinos.
The problem isn't just with Trump, it's also with his GOP rivals. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) has called for mass deportation, while Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has said he would immediately end the president's relief for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) noted Wednesday those comments represent a shift for Rubio, since he helped draft and pass a bill through the Senate a comprehensive reform bill that included assistance for the same young people.
"I'm very disappointed," said Durbin, who was also part of the so-called "gang of eight" that wrote the comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013.
There's one potential upside for Democrats: rhetoric on Latinos from Trump and others could inspire more of them to vote, and they largely swing democratic.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is aiming to be the next Democratic leader in the Senate, said if the party takes control of the upper chamber and the White House, immigration reform will be a top priority.
"We would never pull back because our Republican friends get angry at us. ... It's a passion," he said of immigration reform. "We just need our passion to have electoral backing so we can take that passion and move it to reality."
Editor's Note: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist,