tags: , Press Releases

#23a: Your Quick Summary Of the Week From America’s Voice

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All week, the focus was on the U.S. Senate where a group of Senators, including Democrats Chris Murphy (CT) and Michael Bennet (CO), were negotiating with Republicans and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) about how – and if – to add measures to severely restrict immigration into the President’s emergency supplemental budget request to aid, among others, Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel. The entire pro-immigrant movement has mobilized to issue at least 60 statements and cautions to Senators, especially Democrats, that gutting asylum as part of a short-term emergency funding bill is unacceptable. A statement signed by 188 faith, pro-immigrant, civil liberties and service groups, first covered by Politico and organized by Human Rights First, said that “Demanding impossible standards for securing asylum or curbing parole authority as a condition for moving funding for Ukraine is unacceptable. We are appalled by proposals that would eliminate or reduce access to asylum or parole at precisely the moment in which protections for people seeking refuge are most needed.” America’s Voice and others have been trying to spotlight that the proposals to gut asylum, humanitarian parole and other legal channels will lead to less orderliness and therefore, adopting the GOP frame of labeling these measures as “border security” is unwarranted. As Vanessa Cárdenas said in a statement quoted by AP, “What is being discussed by Republicans is not ‘border security,’ but a grab bag of Trump and Stephen Miller policies that would gut asylum and add to chaos and disorder and cruelty at the border…” Other AV statements this week here, here and here. Vanessa was also quoted in the Washington Post, Univision, the Connecticut Mirror, among others, and moderated a successful press call with Andrea Flores of FWD.us, Kica Matos of NILC, and Lia Parada of Immigration Hub. Read more here.


Last week, a coalition of more than 80 individuals and organizations wrote an open letter to TelevisaUnivision – the parent company of Univision – expressing concern about Univision’s decision to allow Donald Trump access to their platform to spread disinformation without a challenge from the interviewer (press release in English here and Spanish here). The letter also referenced reporting around the close relationship between Univision executives and members of the Trump family potentially being a part of the reason for the network’s favorable coverage of the former President. America’s Voice led the effort in drafting the letter, garnering support from progressive allies, including Latino and non Latino-focused groups, Texas State Senator César J. Blanco, Nevada State Assemblywomen Cecilia González and Selena Torres, and various national and state-level groups. Following the release of the letter, Jorge Ramos said in a blog, “We cannot normalize behavior that threatens democracy and the Hispanic community, nor offer Trump an open microphone to spread falsehoods and his conspiracy theories. You have to question and verify (fact-check) everything he does and says.” Read more here.


In their weekly column, America’s Voice En Español Director Maribel Hastings and Spanish-language Advisor David Torres write that “now that a group of Republican and Democratic senators are considering undermining asylum laws, exactly as Donald Trump had planned, in exchange for Republican support for the funds President Joe Biden requested for Ukraine, it’s revealed yet again that for many politicians, immigrants are the ‘low-hanging fruit’ when things get complicated.” Hastings and Torres add: “Doing Republicans’ dirty work will not earn Democrats support from those Republicans, nor Republican voters, and it will only prove, yet again, that when pressured, immigrants are ‘disposable’ to Democrats. This time they must put the humanitarian aspect that is urgently crying out for a solution first, since this is about millions of human lives who have done nothing other than choose, like millions of others in the past, a better way of life. During these negotiations, will they keep in mind the motto that we all have symbolically tattooed on our foreheads: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free?’” Their column was published at a number of outlets including: La Opinión, La Tribuna Hispana and Radio Bilingüe. Read their column in English here and in Spanish here.


Two people were tragically killed when their vehicle crashed and exploded at the Niagara Falls International Rainbow Bridge crossing on Nov. 22. The New York couple had been traveling at high speeds when they apparently lost control of the vehicle, which then exploded and caught on fire. It appears to have been a horrific accident – yet that didn’t stop anti-immigrant lawmakers and right-wing media from almost immediately labeling the incident a “terrorist attack” and using it to engage in nativist fearmongering in order to advance their political and hateful agendas. Federal officials said they were still probing the cause of the crash when Fox News speculated that not only was the incident terrorism, but possibly related to the war in Gaza. “This confirms our worst fear: the explosion at Rainbow Bridge was a terrorist attack,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz wrote in a now-deleted tweet. Even after Fox walked back its terrorism claims, and despite no evidence of plots at either border, the network continued using the incident to hound immigrants and immigration. Unfortunately, we have grown to expect falsehoods, innuendo and disinformation from Fox, which is really just a political arm of the GOP. We know they’ll say and do whatever it takes, no matter how untrue or outrageous, in order to win in 2024. Read more here.


To assist in advocates’ efforts urging Senate Democrats to not trade asylum for emergency funding in the supplemental funding negotiations, the AV Digital Team created a toolkit containing a number of sample social media posts, graphics, and messaging. One sample post and graphic: “There are smarter and more effective ways to fund our asylum system on the table in the spending bills to provide aid to Ukraine. Here are just some of them.” Click here to access other sample posts in our digital toolkit and urge Democrats to stand up for immigrant communities.


Two must-read pieces shine an important light on ongoing human rights tragedies. Human Rights Watch has published a new report detailing how high-speed chases under Texas’ ineffective and costly Operation Lone Star have led to crashes killing at least 74 people, including a seven-year-old child, and injuring nearly 200 others. HRW noted that officers always have the option of abandoning a pursuit when it seems just too risky. But instead, overzealous enforcement combined with anti-immigrant policy have led to tragic deaths. Read the report here. The Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights has also published an op-ed at The New York Times urging justice for the thousands of families that were torn apart at the southern border by the Trump administration. While the Biden administration recently announced a proposed settlement “with some temporary benefits such as work authorization, short-term housing medical assistance, including behavioral health services,” it still falls short of the permanent legal status that families deserve, Kelly Albinak Kribs writes. “It is not too late to get this right.” Read more here.

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