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

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The GOP’s nativist strategy flopped in NY-03’s special election this week. Democrat Tom Suozzi beat Republican Mazi Pilip by 8 points Tuesday night to flip the seat most recently held by ousted Republican George Santos. Immigration was at the center of this campaign, and America’s Voice closely tracked how the issue played. AV detailed our “Three Takeaways” analysis about what the Suozzi win means for the larger politics of immigration (analysis subsequently covered by the Los Angeles TimesMSNBC, and The Guardian) and expanded on that analysis in a new AV report from Political Director Zachary Mueller. Some key takeaways: the GOP’s nativist electoral strategy failed spectacularly … again; Suozzi embraced the ‘both/and’ approach focusing on border security and the need for legalization. While Suozzi called out GOP obstruction, he missed an opportunity to call out their dangerous extremism and mass deportation agenda. Following Tuesday’s results, AV Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas said, “Democrats can be on offense now that Republicans have derailed all legislative actions and should articulate a plan that couples an orderly border with strong support for citizenship and broader reforms to create a system that benefits the American people, while also drawing attention to the extremism of the Republican agenda and their rhetoric. ‘Poisoning the blood’ and promising mass roundups to purge the country of the foreign-born are policies that weigh down GOP candidates.” Read more here.


In a truly anticlimactic Tuesday evening vote, House Republicans finally got their whip count correct and voted to impeach DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by one vote, 214-213, having failed 214-216 the week before. Hannah Muldavin of the Congressional Integrity Project said on an America’s Voice press conference call last week (before the revote) that the “unconstitutional, baseless impeachment attempt…failed in a bipartisan fashion because it was a political stunt, based on politics instead of facts and evidence. MAGA Republicans continue to waste time on this baseless impeachment, putting the demands of Donald Trump ahead of the American people and any real effort to try to solve the situation at the border.” As the revote approached, AV Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas noted, “While the bogus impeachment of Sec. Mayorkas will soon fizzle and fail – either again in the House or the Senate – the mainstreaming of white nationalist and antisemitic conspiracies will continue to have dangerous real-world impact.” We noted actual violence inspired by the same Republican conspiracy theories and talking points about “replacement” and “invasion,” including the arrest of a man intending to be a violent border vigilante and another animated by conspiracy theories who allegedly decapitated his father. MSNBC blogger Ja’han Jones summed it up: “So as Republicans try to give their impeachment push against Mayorkas a veneer of legitimacy, never forget that it’s rooted in racist schlock scraped from right-wing message boards.” Read more here.


In her weekly column, America’s Voice consultant Maribel Hastings writes that in the immigration developments of recent weeks, the negative has predominated over the positive. “Taking a look at immigration developments in recent days, we find more darkness than light, and the certainty that in this electoral year, immigration will occupy the center of the debate, with a Republican Party that exploits the issue for political gamesmanship ends, and a Democratic Party on the defense, disposed to cede to Republican demands on the border and the asylum system. And, as in every electoral cycle, undocumented people—including the Dreamers— continue to wait for the elusive legalization that never comes.” Hastings concludes that “the country benefits from the work and services of undocumented immigrants, and from what those millions of people and their family members spend and contribute. But when it comes to legalizing them so that they can contribute even more, xenophobia and messages of hate weigh more for Republicans. And in the case of Democrats, fear and political malpractice do not help either.” Her column was also published in several outlets, including La OpiniónRadio Bilingüe, and La Tribuna HispanaRead her column in English here and in Spanish here.


National Caregivers Day, observed on February 16, wouldn’t be complete without recognizing the contributions of essential immigrant workers who help provide critical services and companionship to our loved ones. It’s necessary to note the contributions of immigrant caregivers, considering the major role they play in caring for seniors and people with disabilities. “In 2019, 36.5% of all home health aides in the United States were immigrants, a rate that was twice their share of the U.S. workforce overall (17.1%),” Immigration Impact noted last year. “This includes undocumented workers, who made up an estimated 6.9% of home health aides and 4.4% of personal care aides.” Immigrants holding TPS and DACA relief are also significant contributors to the elder care, home care, and healthcare industries, representing more than 45,000 of these workers. Besides providing care and support to our loved ones, immigrant workers also play a significant role in boosting our economy and filling critical labor shortages. The U.S. has been facing a significant labor shortage that, combined with an aging worker population, was concerning before the novel coronavirus pandemic hit. “Significant numbers of immigrants already work in this sector,” the National Immigration Forum wrote in 2021, “but if provided the opportunity, they could have a critical role in helping the United States address future shortages in home health care occupations.” Read more here.


If there were a race where the GOP’s anti-immigrant strategy should have worked, it was NY-03’s special election. But it didn’t. Even in a GOP-held battleground district where immigration has been a flashpoint issue, and despite at least $9.5 million of GOP-allied spending on anti-immigrant ads, Democratic candidate Tom Suozzi won. At least three election cycles have already shown that running hard on nativism isn’t the electoral silver bullet Republicans pretend it is. But even though they’ve lost again and again, they keep doubling down. Click here to share our graphic on the GOP’s failed nativist strategy.


Community members and advocates in Texas held a number of actions and events this week as the lawsuit around the state’s S.B. 4 (also known as “show me your papers”) law had a court hearing in Austin on Thursday. In a direct threat to communities of color, S.B. 4 would empower every law enforcement officer to question the citizenship of any Texan and detain them, no matter their immigration status. On Thursday, the Department of Justice, American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the Texas Civil Rights Project, and plaintiffs American Gateways and Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center urged the court to halt the law while litigation continues. Ahead of the hearing, advocates led by Grassroots Leadership held a press conference outside the courthouse to highlight the dangers around the bill. That same day, the Border Network for Human Rights and 36 other Texas groups kicked off the “We Will Resist” campaign, which seeks to mobilize Texans against S.B. 4 and Abbott’s ineffective and expensive Operation Lone Star. “This is a wake up call for all El Paso and throughout the state of Texas to join to defend their constitutional rights, but also a wake up call to the governor to realize that his actions are unconstitutional and that they would have repercussions in our communities,” said BNHR’s Alan Lizarraga. Read more here.

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