tags: , Press Releases

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

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The week was dominated by the news that President Biden and Donald Trump would visit Texas on Thursday, one week before the Super-Tuesday primaries and the State of the Union Address. America’s Voice previewed what we thought Biden should say in Brownsville, driving the advice we are giving pro-immigrant and Democratic candidates: 1) Lean in, take control and don’t duck the immigration issue; 2) Call out extremism, opposition to legal immigration, racism and decision to talk about, but not allow action on immigration and border issues; and 3) Outline a “both/and” vision on immigration that addresses public concern over an orderly and secure border and embraces a broader set of popular solutions on topics such as legal immigration and support for long-settled immigrants. During the event, Biden leaned in, called out Trump and the Republicans, but mostly stressed enforcement- and deterrence-only strategies, not the broader and more popular messaging about immigration and immigrants. Trump for his part was predictable: fear, lies, crime, lies, fear and racism. AV summed up the week with a statement from Vanessa Cárdenas saying: “The dueling border visits of President Biden and Donald Trump not only offered a contrast on policy and politics, but offered a reminder of how unhinged and racist Trump’s campaign has become.” Read more here.


Trump’s campaign has released a new video that mixes in racist comments from his infamous 2015 campaign kick-off speech – in which he said Mexico is “sending” “rapists” – with recent headlines about immigrants accused of horrific crimes in the U.S., including the tragic, high profile murder of Laken Riley in Georgia. These Willie Horton-style dog whistle attacks linking immigrants and crime are a major theme for Trump, despite the fact that study after study has shown that immigrants commit crime at lower rates than U.S.-born Americans (and despite the fact that Trump himself is currently facing 91 felony charges). “It’s strategic racism; a well-worn tactic from a familiar playbook with the sole purpose of turning this tragedy into fodder for a political objective and narrative that migrants and asylum seekers are dangerous threats when the facts demonstrate otherwise,” said Cárdenas. “At a time when Americans want a balanced solution to the border and remain supportive of legal immigration and a path to citizenship, Trump’s vitriol is a reminder of the type of divisive leader and demagogue he is and again wants to be. His goal is self-aggrandizement and dividing Americans, period.” Read more here.


The need for a “both/and” approach on immigration that combines a pathway to legalization and border security is getting a boost from an unlikely place: the recent GOP presidential primary races between Trump and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. In South Carolina, CNN’s exit polling showed that 70% of Haley’s voters said they believed that undocumented immigrants should be offered a chance at legal status. Nearly 30% of Trump’s voters agreed. Similar numbers were seen in the New Hampshire race last month. Not only does this show that nativism isn’t the electoral silver bullet that Republicans claim it is, results also square with polls showing most Americans prefer a balanced approach over a solely border and enforcement approach. One Global Strategy Group poll from earlier this year found that 68% of all voters wanted “a balanced approach that includes both border security and protects Dreamers, providing them and other eligible immigrants with a pathway to citizenship.” Fortunately for political candidates trying to navigate these issues, the NY-03 special election where Rep. Tom Suozzi defeated his GOP opponent showed how a “both/and” approach can result in an electoral victory. If there was one race where nativism should’ve worked for Republicans, it was this one. It didn’t. Read more here.


In her weekly column, America’s Voice consultant Maribel Hastings wrote about the high stakes at play ahead of President Biden and Trump’s visits to the border on Thursday. As expected, President Biden slammed Republicans for rejecting the border bill they demanded, while Trump exploited horrific and violent incidents involving immigrants in recent weeks. “Trump has made the border and immigration his central campaign issue in order to rally the MAGA base,” Hastings wrote. “The warning of a ‘purge’ of migrants; detention camps for undocumented people; and massive deportations are not empty threats.” But it’s not only about immigrants, because the rights of all Americans are at risk, Hastings said. “Trump had the opportunity to nominate like-minded judges in various tribunals including the Supreme Court, stacking the deck in his favor in his attempt to implement extremist policies. He also made it clear that he is rearing for vengeance from officials and Democratic politicians, whom he accuses of having persecuted and defamed him because, in Trump’s world, the 91 charges that he faces in four criminal cases, are ‘fabricated.’” Trump’s threats should not be minimized, Hastings cautioned. Her column was also published in several outlets, including La OpiniónRadio BilingüeEl Diario/LaPrensaHoy Dallas and La Tribuna HispanaRead her column in English here and in Spanish here.


Local and national support for Annunciation House continues following Texas’s abhorrent attack on the faith-based migrant-aid organization. Last week, corrupt Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton baselessly accused Annunciation House of facilitating human smuggling and has since sued to revoke its registration. That move could end the group’s mission after nearly five decades of serving the El Paso community. California bishops, faith-based groups, and more than 150 local and national organizations have been among the voices to add their support for Annunciation House and its founder, Ruben Garcia. “It is shameful that the Texas Attorney General would file suit against Annunciation House in El Paso,” the California bishops said in their statement. “For a country that was founded by immigrants from Europe seeking religious freedom and tolerance, we find the actions of the Texas AG abhorrent in attempting to curtail the work of people of faith.” During a press conference late last week, Garcia warned that Annunciation House would not be the only organization targeted by Paxton, who has used his elected office to target vulnerable communities, including transgender children. “I personally am taken aback by the use of words like ‘smuggling,’ to call our houses of hospitality ‘stash houses,’” Garcia said. “Is there no shame?” Read more here.


CPAC previously made some effort to keep white nationalists and other extremists at arm’s length. But this year, conspiratorial bigotry was the mainstage booked event. While Nazis roamed the halls of the convention, leading Republicans like Trump and fourth-ranking House Republican Elise Stefanik took to the stage platform anti-democratic conspiracy theories to lay the foundation to overturn democracy if election results in November do not go their way. We have to remember these aren’t marginal cranks with little power. They are the leaders of the GOP, and they were addressing an audience teeming with extremists. Click here to share our graphic on this dangerous rhetoric and mingling of GOP leaders and open white nationalists.


In a major win for legal advocates and Texas communities, a federal judge in Austin temporarily halted S.B. 4, the “show me your papers” law that, if implemented, would empower every law enforcement officer to question the citizenship of any Texas resident and detain them. U.S. District Judge David Ezra notably rejected Texas’ claim about a so-called invasion. In recent months, Texas has cited this debunked white nationalist legal theory to defend its unlawful actions. “I haven’t seen, and the state of Texas can’t point me to any type of military invasion in Texas,” Judge Ezra said in his ruling. “I don’t see evidence that Texas is at war.” S.B. 4 was set to go into effect in just a matter of days, on March 5. Civil and immigrant rights organizations that led the fight against S.B. 4 were jubilant following the ruling, but also cautioned that Texas is set to appeal to the notoriously conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. “We must continue to be vigilant against Texas’ politics of fear and hatred,” said Jennifer Babaie, Director of Advocacy and Legal Services with Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center. “But today, immigrants and Texans of color get to pursue living lives of hope, opportunity, and family. It’s a win worth celebrating.” Read more here.

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