tags: , Press Releases

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

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Reports from Capitol Hill indicate that the White House is close to caving into GOP demands for harmful changes to the nation’s border and asylum laws to pass critical national security assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. The Biden administration seems intent on rushing to pay any price to Republicans based on a misguided belief that it would bolster the President’s reelection campaign. As America’s Voice Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas points out, “Delivering on Republicans’ range of permanent immigration policy demands won’t deliver an orderly border, won’t stop GOP anti-immigrant attacks in 2024 and won’t meet the American public’s desire for a balanced solution on immigration. The deal as it is being reported threatens to dampen enthusiasm among core segments of the Democratic electorate, including Latinos, younger voters, women, progressives, and immigrants who are generally repelled by overtly anti-immigrant policies.” The policies under serious consideration are so awful that a DHS official warned that “it would break the border,” and another deemed it “completely counterproductive,” adding it could cause the system to be overwhelmed. And a former DHS chief of staff said, “There has never been data that has shown that these sort of measures or reforms would stop or deter … a migrant’s calculus to come to the southern border.” The White House would be better off listening to the American public’s common-sense preference for a balanced immigration approach, not enforcement-only restrictions risking the support of Latino voters who want pathways to legalization, not walls and deportations.


The public wants reform instead of the status quo – and the extreme, cruel, and ineffective Donald Trump and Stephen Miller proposals won’t do anything to address our nation’s broken immigration system, AV Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas noted in a Q&A with The Hill’s Morning Report. “Our immigration system is broken,” she said. “We’ve said that for decades and we urgently need to modernize it. But the notion that only Republicans get to define what policies should be on the table, that we should shoehorn that process into a supplemental funding debate, or that we should tie immigration to support for our Ukrainian allies is not the way to do policy on such a complex issue.” Cárdenas notes that despite the draconian proposals from Congressional Republicans, strong majorities of Americans still want legalization for long-time undocumented immigrants like Dreamers. “Democrats and the president should be confident that they’re on the side that favors legal immigration because it reduces illegal immigration,” Cárdenas continued. “Republicans, who oppose legal immigration by and large, are the party fighting to maintain chaos and illegality.” Read more here.


While we continue in our efforts pushing back against harmful proposals, there was also plenty to celebrate this year. From in-state tuition expansion for Massachusetts Dreamers, to proposed regulations better protecting the farmworkers who feed us, to the expansion of work permits for hundreds of thousands more immigrants, our movement achieved a host of wins and big moments throughout 2023. Some of these victories reflected years of hard work by advocates, like in Massachusetts, where recent state law opening driver’s licenses to undocumented residents went into effect in July. While immigrant families will certainly be able to drive to work, school, or doctor’s appointments with greater peace of mind, it’s also true that the law will help all communities. That’s because the commonwealth will benefit from safer roads and tested, insured drivers. “When I began working on the issue over a decade ago, I would have benefitted from this law myself,” Brazilian Worker Center Executive Director Lenita Reason said. “I am now a naturalized U.S. citizen, and I am proud to say that, starting today, the Commonwealth will be a safer place not only for immigrants but for everyone.” Click here to read more about our immigration wins and big moments from 2023.


Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and leading Congressional Democrats held a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday urging President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats to reject any draconian changes harming both the asylum system and longtime immigrants in the U.S. “Republicans continue to hold funding for America’s allies hostage at the expense of migrants and to pass Trump-era border policies. Republicans are pitting vulnerable groups against each other to strong-arm policies that will exacerbate chaos at the southern border,” said Hispanic Caucus Chair Nanette Barragán. “We are urging the Biden administration to say no, do not take the bait.” Click below to share one of AV’s tweets from the press conference, or to send your own tweet urging lawmakers to stand firm on asylum, click here.


The permanent and harmful immigration changes being debated right now would extend far beyond the southern border. As FWD.us notes in a must-read memo, one extreme demand would expand the use of expedited removal in the interior. This means immigrants with deep roots here would be threatened with fast-tracked deportation if they can’t immediately prove they’ve been in the U.S. for the past two years. “While there has been reporting largely focused on changes to asylum standards, including the credible fear standard, these other proposals have received less attention,” the memo states. “Not only will these policies fail to improve conditions at the border, but some will have the impact of increasing, not decreasing, unauthorized encounters, creating more chaos at the border in 2024.” It’s an important read – click here for more on what these changes could mean for communities all over the nation and at the border.

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