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Advocates Are Not Buying What Trump is Saying on Immigration

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Not When There’s a Mass Deportation Agenda in Place

After a joint address to Congress last night in which Trump was not quite as provocative on immigration as he usually is, some have expressed hopes that Trump is coming around on immigration legislation. We at America’s Voice definitely don’t buy the idea that he’s “softening” on immigration, and neither do other advocates across the movement. Here’s a round-up of what they’ve said:

Cristina Jimenez, Executive Director and Co-Founder of United We Dream, said in a statement titled, “Do We Believe That Trump Is Softening On Immigration? No”:

In his speech last night, Trump appeared to have no interest in the suffering of immigrant families and even called for ending family-based immigration. In typical fashion, he further dehumanized immigrants by lifting up a handful of horrors to justify yet more agents, more raids, more deportations and more terror in our communities. He provided the rationale for what immigration agents and police do in the field every day: racial profiling and making marijuana possession, having a tattoo, working without papers or simply driving a car while brown or black a deportable offence.

We renew our call for all people of conscience to resist his dangerous vision for this country.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) said in a statement entitled “The President’s speech was ripped from the pages of Breitbart and you could imagine Steve Bannon’s lips moving with every sentence”:

The President is lying when he says he supports immigration reform in any meaningful sense.  He spent most of his speech denigrating immigrants, tarring our community as criminals, drug-dealers, and killers and we cannot stand for it.  He is dressing his mass deportation plans up in nicer language, but hearing every Republican applaud the President’s hateful words is very disheartening.

The President sees Latinos and immigrants as threats, as criminals, and as killers.  He highlights the crimes that some immigrants have committed in an effort to turn the American people against immigration.  He envisions an immigration system where quotas for PhD’s are set in Washington and the multitude of immigrants who built this country and who keep it flourishing would not be welcome.  The Latino community won’t forget and won’t let that happen.  And the millions of allies we have who support immigration as a fundamental and integral aspect of America’s greatness will not forget either.

From Angie Junck, Supervising Attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center:

Our values as a country are informed not just by what we say, but by how we act. Over the last month, we have stood in solidarity with immigrant families who have been torn apart by raids, refugees who have been denied sanctuary from violence, and Muslim and Jewish community members who have been persecuted solely on the basis of their faith. The actions of the president and his administration, and the resulting pain inflicted on individuals and families from coast to coast, speak clearly to an un-American agenda of hate and discrimination that the words of one speech will not so easily erase, and that we as advocates will not so easily forget.

Said Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota:

You can’t claim to support immigration reform when you’re holding eleven million people hostage. What President Trump should do is stop senseless deportations. Instead, tonight he continued to outline a punitive system in which the promise of immigration reform will be out of reach for the eleven million caught in his deportation dragnet.

From Maria Teresa Kumar, President and CEO of Voto Latino:

Creating a DHS hotline, Victims of Immigrant Crime Engagement, will only lead to further racial tension and profiling, and will not make our country any safer.

At a time when the country needs a unifying voice, his divisive rhetoric continues to pin Americans against each other.

Some will say that his tone was different, but in reality, the substance remains the same. On immigration, he mentioned only platitudes on vague reform, but his policies have outlined an agenda of mass deportations and terrorizing immigrant communities.

In a press conference today reacting to the joint address, Jose Antonio Vargas of Define American asked the media to not let Trump get away with empty platitudes:

It’s been very incredibly frustrating and angering to hear reporters who should know better, who should be operating in facts, who should be wanting context, just be willing to buy what Donald Trump was selling, as a candidate, and now as president.

Echoed Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director of the National Immigration Law Center, at the conference:

This is a president who is very impulsive, who speaks his mind at the moment. His actions speak louder than his words.  We don’t have reason to trust that what he said to reporters behind closed doors is what will actually happen, mainly because of the executive orders that have already been implemented, the directives that have already been issued, the action of ICE agents and border patrols…are really what’s happening. There’s myth and there’s reality. Again, actions speak louder than words.