tags: , Press Releases

#18: Your Quick Summary Of the Week From America’s Voice

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This week saw a series of announcements by the Biden administration, but they still lacked a coherent, unifying strategy. A proposed settlement was announced by the DOJ with migrant families intentionally separated by the Trump administration that in part bans a repeat of this policy for eight years. America’s Voice Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas called the settlement “a step toward healing and justice for the affected families, whose lives have been permanently altered by the trauma.” Also announced this week, a family reunification parole program for Ecuadorans that will allow some migrants to seek safety in the U.S. without walking across Central America and Mexico, taking pressure off of the U.S. border. Meanwhile, deportation flights to Venezuela began this week after the U.S. granted other Venezuelans TPS, in part due to dangerous country conditions. The lack of a coherent, articulated plan – a narrative of what the President and Democrats are trying to do to manage migration – solicited this observation from Cárdenas: “We continue to see the Biden administration lurch from a series of sensible policies to address migration to a series of enforcement proposals that we know don’t work. Migration is a challenge that the U.S. has both the capacity and the ability to address, but there needs to be a consistent strategy that is well-articulated at the highest level of government.” As of this writing, the President’s new supplemental budget request, primarily to aid Ukraine and Israel, is being analyzed and reportedly will include a significant amount ($14 billion) for border and asylum funding. In a national address, the President did not mention what that spending was for, but did strongly condemn the fact that “too much hate has been given too much oxygen, fueling racism, a rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia right here in America.”


As of this writing, there continues to be no House Speaker or a functioning House on the horizon. Republicans’ most recent nominee for Speaker, Jim Jordan, failed multiple votes this week. Like AV Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas noted earlier, “the very notion of Jim Jordan moving into the presidential line of succession should be a frightening prospect for anyone who cares about our democracy.” Jordan has as recently as this week sowed unfounded uncertainty in our electoral system by repeatedly pushing the lie that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, used his powerful and influential position as House Judiciary Committee chairman to amplify white nationalist and antisemitic tropes and conspiracies, and pushed completely unworkable and cruel immigration demands as a precondition for keeping the federal government open. Jordan has further called the anti-asylum H.R. 2 bill – more accurately known as the Child Detention Act – Republicans’ “most significant legislative accomplishment” this year. The gavel may still be out of reach for Jordan – for now – but his extremist anti-immigrant politics that are a threat to American democracy are surely ascendant inside the Republican Party. Read more here.


In her op-ed at The Messenger, AV Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas highlighted the findings and implications of recent AV polling and research calling attention to how disinformation about “open borders” – including disinformation spread by right-wing media and elected officials – is one factor in the larger set of drivers of migration to the U.S. from Central America. Among the findings, the America’s Voice poll of 600 Central Americans in the prime migration age cohort living in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua found that more than a quarter (27%) of respondents recalled hearing a U.S. politician or official say the border is open in the past six months. Right-wing news outlets, meanwhile, have spread “open borders” disinformation throughout the airwaves thousands of times. “Words matter — even more so when you are in a position of power as an elected official or media representative,” Cárdenas wrote. “Misleading or false information is especially dangerous on an issue as volatile as immigration and border policy.” A similar op-ed by Cárdenas was also published at a number of Spanish-language media outlets including La OpiniónRadio Bilingüe and El Tiempo LatinoRead her op-ed in English here and in Spanish here.


Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has already sunk billions of taxpayer dollars into cruel and ineffective border policies that have separated families, have been ruled unconstitutional in court, and have illegally jailed hundreds of Black and brown migrants for weeks and months without any formal state charges, just to name a few outrageous actions. Under a new special legislative session, Abbott is now demanding Texas lawmakers go even further to enact his anti-immigrant agenda. One of the proposals creates a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence for a charge for smuggling. While this crime can be as bad as it may sound, many of those who might be engaged in this activity are people recruited off social media, are in search of work, and are unaware that they are smuggling individuals. But these minimums remove the much-needed discretion for doling out punishment in these cases.The measures have passed the state senate and are currently being debated in the state house. Advocates are fiercely pushing back. “SB 4 and SB 11 will overwhelm jails with asylum-seekers and persecute mixed-status families + clergy while empowering Texas police to obstruct federal immigration enforcement and harass Mexican-Americans,” Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro tweeted. “The Texas House should reject @GovAbbott’s extreme agenda.” Read more here.


During the most recent GOP presidential debate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was just one of the candidates on stage that spewed elements of the white nationalist “invasion” conspiracy that have inspired multiple domestic terror attacks. Republican leaders, candidates and their allies know the deadly consequences of this rhetoric, yet they continue to use it as a main talking point. This is simply unacceptable. Click here to share our AV graphic shaming the purveyors of dangerous rhetoric that continues to result in a deadly toll in communities across the U.S.


Maria Gabriela “Gaby” Pacheco, a long-time immigrant rights leader and advocate, has been announced as the new president and CEO of TheDream.US, the nation’s largest scholarship fund for undocumented students. Throughout its existence, TheDream.US has awarded more than 10,000 college scholarships, and celebrated more than 3,600 Scholars’ college graduations. Pacheco, who has been in the immigration fight for two decades, marched from Miami to Washington, D.C. as part of the historic Trail of Dreams in 2010, and was a pivotal force in the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, said she’s committed to using her new role to help others achieve their own dreams. “This role is not just a responsibility; it’s a privilege, and I am committed to ensuring that we continue to open doors, break down barriers, and empower Dreamers to reach their full potential, adding their unique voices and talents to the diverse chorus that is our nation.” Congratulations, Gaby! Read more here and share our AV graphic congratulating Gaby here.

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