Friday, July 24, 2015

Billionaire Setting National Agenda

Yesterday the House of Representatives voted to pass HR 3009, despite a very clear statement from President Obama that he would veto it. "While the vote did not surprise anyone, it reminded many of the need for more, rather than less, protective policies at the municipal and state level to shield communities from the dangerous combination of a broken congress, a rogue law enforcement (ICE), and a bigot billionaire who somehow has managed to set the national agenda."

In reaction, Chris Newman, Legal Director at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, issued the following statement:

"While the vote did not surprise anyone, it reminded many of the need for more, rather than less, protective policies at the municipal and state level to shield communities from the dangerous combination of a broken congress, a rogue law enforcement (ICE), and a bigot billionaire who somehow has managed to set the national agenda. At least temporarily.

"It is important to note that we are not witnessing a backlash to so-called sanctuary cities. Progress in untangling civil and criminal law enforcement has come despite the Washington Beltway, not because of it, and going forward will be no different. Lawmakers in Congress and the Obama Administration's Department of Homeland Security have always been opposed to municipal TRUST policies that protect immigrant families, defend civil rights, and advance public safety for all. Indeed, progress made in rejecting the catastrophic and unconstitutional Secure Communities deportation program came from the bottom-up through community organizing and litigation in federal courts.

"The dysfunction on display in congress today stands in stark contrast to state and local governments that have passed rational policies to protect residents from hazardous consequences caused by federal government's demonstrable failure. Five years ago, demagogues in Arizona threatened to bring a new normal, but the tide has turned, and the country rejected the criminalization of immigrants. Moving forward, the toxic atmosphere in DC will only strengthen the resolve of communities organizing in self defense, it will unify immigrant rights allies, and it will likely encourage more civil rights lawyers to take cases in defense of vulnerable immigrants.

"As attention now turns to the Senate, we call upon Senator Feinstein to rejoin members of her party and others who are seeking comprehensive rather than piecemeal enforcement approach to immigration reform. If Senator Feinstein continues to scapegoat immigrants and cities in her home state, her legacy as a California Senator will likely end in shame."

Exploitation of Human Tragedies for Political Gains 

Despite the fact that so many companies, celebrities, and individuals have denounced Trump's anti-immigrant comments, his recent surge in the polls is reenergizing extreme anti-immigrant members of the Republican Party.

Yesterday, anti-immigrant legislators in the House of Representatives capitalized on Trump's momentum and passed a bill that seeks to expand immigration enforcement policies.

The worst part about this latest series of attacks is that Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues are exploiting a horrible tragedy in San Francisco to justify their attacks on immigrants living across the United States.

If Republicans want to get serious about reforming our broken immigration system, they need to publicly denounce Trump's stereotypes and hateful comments towards immigrants, and support bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform -- just like the bill passed by Senate Republicans and Democrats back in 2013.

Instead of piecemeal measures that seek to maximize deportations, like the one the House of Representatives passed yesterday, the solution is for Congress to enact comprehensive immigration reform. 

Now, more than ever, we need our allies in Congress to stand behind immigration policies that work for our communities -- at all levels of government. This is not the time to give Donald Trump and his supporters in Congress a free pass to attack Latino and immigrant communities.

Please join us in telling members of Congress working on anti-immigrant legislation to dump Trump!
Thank you for your support,

Gabe Ortiz
America’s Voice

Hate is Spreading 

The killing of 32-year-old Kate Steinle in San Francisco has led to a political firestorm. Politicians from both parties, led by GOP hatemonger Donald Trump, are exploiting this tragedy to scapegoat immigrants and attack "sanctuary cities," which don't allow local resources to be used to enforce broken federal immigration laws.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives just voted to effectively dismantle sanctuary cities. 

These efforts directly attack Latino families and add to the hostile and dangerous environment immigrants experience every day in communities throughout the US.

With this vote, all attention is now on Senate Democrats. But some Democrats appear to be wavering, including Senator Diane Feinstein and Senator Dick Durbin. It’s a shocking betrayal that threatens to legitimize Trump and his Republican allies' anti-immigrant fearmongering. We can’t let it go unanswered. Senate Democrats must hold a clear standard for sanctuary cities and not be pulled into the worst of reactionary politics.

Sanctuary cities are not just better for immigrants, they are better for the entire city. San Francisco, a sanctuary city, has a lower overall crime rate than similar sized non-sanctuary cities. Sanctuary cities build trust in law enforcement, making it possible for people in immigrant communities to call the police without fearing that it could result in deportation for them or someone they know.4 Immigrants, or those who are perceived to be immigrants, can travel the city without fear of being stopped and harassed by the police.

Make no mistake: Democrats (six of them voted for HB 3009) who have supported sanctuary cities for years – and who depend on immigrant communities for support – are now threatening to turn their backs on us. And this comes in the wake of Donald Trump’s recent hate-mongering and relentless attacks on immigrants.

Trump has influenced politicians for decades. As the leader of the pack in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, his brand of hate is exerting substantial influence over the entire GOP, particularly on immigration. As each of his hateful statements results in a bump in the polls, Republican leaders are moving further to the right on immigration issues. So it came as little surprise when every House Republican voted to dismantle sanctuary cities.

But Trump shouldn’t be influencing Democrats who claim to be allies of Latinos and immigrants. It’s simple: Republicans cannot move these anti-immigrant policies without Democratic support. We need to make it clear that we won’t let them get away with attacking our communities, then asking for our support when it’s time for an election.

Join us in calling out Democrats who are joining the GOP’s attack on immigrant communities, and demanding that Democrats in Congress defend sanctuary cities.

— The Team

State of Fear

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) condemns the passage of the so-called ‘Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act’ (H.R. 3009, or the “Donald Trump Act” as it has become known) by the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill, introduced by Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA-50), would deny critical federal funding to states and localities that have established policies limiting collaboration with federal immigration enforcement authorities, commonly known as sanctuary cities. Representative Hunter’s punitive and misguided bill fails to accurately reflect the complexities and nuances of immigration enforcement at the local level. Furthermore, this bill blatantly ignores the will of voters and state and local legislators to enact policies that prioritize the safety of all community members.

Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH, issued the following statement:

“At a time when people across the country are calling on Congress to pass meaningful, humane immigration reform, this bill is out of step and out of line. For many immigrant women and families, living in cities that limit collaboration with ICE means being able to work, care for your children, and participate in your community without living in constant fear that you’ll be ripped from your family by detention or deportation.

“For immigrant women who have survived or witnessed violence or other crimes, ‘sanctuary’ means being able to seek protection and speak out against abuse and criminal activity. Holding federal funding hostage for sanctuary cities or ending policies that create a safe haven for immigrant families punishes those who have migrated for survival’s sake and institutes a state of fear which threatens the public safety of all residents. We urge all our elected officials to withhold support from any proposal that would undermine efforts by states and localities to promote public safety and comply with the constitution by limiting collaboration with federal immigration authorities.

“Our nation deserves immigration policies that reflect our values, foster trust, and enable immigrant women and families to contribute to our communities and our economy. It’s shameful that the House passed this bill instead of returning to the work people have time and again asked them to do. It’s time to quit playing games with our families’ lives and pass real immigration reform.”

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