tags: , Press Releases

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

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President Biden’s use of “an illegal” in the off-script exchange with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) at the State of the Union address on Thursday was a disturbing distraction from the rest of his immigration remarks, which were better than we expected. Pro-immigrant leaders inside and outside of Congress (including Vanessa Cárdenas) were quick to denounce the ugly, dehumanizing, and spiteful word. “Appreciate @POTUS for calling on Congress to modernize our immigration system, but calling a human being ‘an illegal’ is ugly a[nd] racist,” Cárdenas said on social media channels. “We can fix immigration without stooping to the Republicans’ level.” While many of us opposed the Senate bipartisan proposal and are glad it didn’t become law, the President is using it to bolster his border security bona fides and calling out Republicans for blocking funding for the border, fentanyl screening, judges and adjudicators and specifically calling out his “predecessor” for spiking the deal. Biden also made a forceful statement opposing Trump’s rhetoric on immigrants “poisoning the blood of the country,” which as many observed, was immediately undercut by using the term “an illegal.” But the key takeaway for AV is that the President went further, as we have been advising, to renew his support for broad legalization and expanded legal channels, to call out GOP extremism and opposition to solutions, and to connect the American people to the values and history of our parents and ancestors coming to this country, which triggers so much goodwill towards immigrants and deep support for sensible policies among American votersRead more here.


As Trump is all but the GOP presidential nominee, it is worth taking a closer look at what he and his allies have promised to do on immigration if he wins a second term. From assembling the “largest domestic deportation operation in American history” to deputizing the National Guard to assist in the mass purging of millions of immigrants, Trump and his allies have promised to take his anti-immigrant and nativist assault to a new level of chaos and discrimination in a second term. While some probably roll their eyes, having heard this rhetoric from Trump and his crew before, what’s very clear is that a potential Trump second term won’t be anything like the first time. The plans are already in place, and it’s chilling. Just look at the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025, a nearly 1,000-page document that details plans to enact his agenda. “It isn’t simply a refresh of first-term ideas, dusted off and ready to be re-implemented,” the Niskanen Center commented. “Rather, it reflects a meticulously orchestrated, comprehensive plan to drive immigration levels to unprecedented lows and increase the federal government’s power to the states’ detriment.” Mass deportations. Massive changes to the federal government. Inciting a climate of fear. Undermining legal immigration. That’s the plan, and they mean it this time. Read more here.


On the heels of border trips by President Biden and Trump and ahead of Super Tuesday and a State of the Union address that kicked us off into general election mode, AV issued a new political memo assessing the changed politics and way forward on immigration in the 2024 cycle. The toplines: Trump’s extremism cedes the middle; the GOP has no rational plan to manage migration; despite the hate, support for legalization among the American public is strong; and Democrats can neutralize and even win over some voters on the issue if they go on the offense and redefine the debate. Notably, Tom Suozzi’s recent victory in the NY-03 special election marked a failure in the GOP’s signature political strategy, while the both/and approach adopted by Suozzi and his condemnation of GOP cynicism provided a roadmap for Democrats moving forward. In fact, Suozzi’s election and the tanking of the Senate bill by Republicans was described as a “tectonic political shift” on immigration by pollster Fernand Amandi in a recent AV press briefing. The GOP’s drastic shift to the right has opened up the middle for Democrats to show how this issue can be addressed with sensible policies and sound politics. Read more here.


Before the President’s State of the Union address, Republicans rushed a bill to the House floor they labeled the Laken Riley Act. This bill would force ICE and DHS to hold in jail indefinitely everyone charged with a crime, not convicted, including theft and shoplifting. Named for a student allegedly murdered by a Venezuelan migrant in Georgia, it is the centerpiece of the GOP’s bogus crime and immigration narrative. Like many pro-immigrant advocates, AV called out the craven politicization of this tragic murder by the Republicans to advance their election narrative and the fact that embroiled Rep. Mike Collins (R-GA) led the effort to pass the bill. Collins is a GOP member accused of supporting antisemitic and anti-democratic advocates and was among those who falsely accused another Venezuelan man of a crime in which he had no involvement. The bill passed the House with 37 Democrats, including those seeking higher office and those involved in “tough” races, joining all of the Republicans in underscoring the false and racist fiction that people of color are coming here to kill us. Read more here.


This week, the Supreme Court intervened in the lawsuits against the “show me your papers” law in Texas, keeping the injunction issued last week by a Federal District Court in Austin after the Fifth Circuit overrode the injunction. Now, the Supreme Court has until Wednesday, March 13, to decide if they will keep SB4 blocked or if it’ll go into effect, all while the Fifth Circuit is scheduled to hear arguments on the bill on April 3, 2024. While Texas Republicans led by Governor Greg Abbott and corrupt Attorney General Ken Paxton want the law in effect as soon as possible, they should be glad the court has blocked it. Just look at what’s happened in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis’s anti-immigrant S.B. 1718 has driven immigrant workers out of the state and only worsened the existing labor shortage. It was totally predictable because it’s already happened before. Florida’s immediate neighbors, Georgia and Alabama, also learned the hard way that xenophobic legislation is both hateful and costly. Advocates in Texas will continue fighting to ensure that S.B. 4 never becomes implemented, and hundreds will rally this weekend in Austin to push back against this hateful law and the GOP’s extremism in the state. Read more here.


In her weekly column, America’s Voice consultant Maribel Hastings writes that “Super Tuesday put Donald Trump steps away from the official Republican presidential nomination,” and that the rematch with President Biden will have serious consequences for immigrants and the immigration issue. “We know the bloody turn that this topic will take in the ensuing presidential campaign that will, once again, elevate and normalize white supremacist conspiracy theories because, after all, they are wielded by a former president who wants to return to be president again, with the help of his Republican leaders, an extremist base, and other electoral sectors that, for some reason, support or are considering supporting a figure like Trump.” Hastings adds that the eventual Biden-Trump matchup offers two very different visions of what the United States is and aspires to be. “Trump offers an apocalyptic vision tinged with prejudice, vengeance, and chaos. Biden claims to aspire to becoming an inclusive, equitable, and just society. In his vision, immigrants should not be sacrificial lambs for political ends.” Her column was also published in various outlets, including La OpiniónEl Diario NY, and Radio Bilingüe. Read her column in English here, and in Spanish here.


During a live interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity in December, Trump leaned into his description as a would-be dictator, stating, “we’re closing the border. After that, I’m not a dictator, okay?” Now that Trump is all but the GOP presidential nominee, we can’t become numb to the ever-escalating and outrageous appeals to racism, violence, and authoritarianism. He’s telling us exactly who he is and what he’ll do with his power if he returns to the White House. Click here to share our graphic on Trump’s vows to be a “dictator” on Day 1 of his potential second-term.


Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro’s guest to President Biden’s State of the Union address this week was Priscilla Martinez, the widow of a rancher who was shot and killed by a neighbor who’d previously expressed anti-Latino animus. Despite this history, local authorities have filed no hate crime charges to date. Ahead of the address, Rep. Castro said that he hoped the Martinez family’s story would spotlight not only this ongoing injustice but also the continued dangers of mainstreaming nativist rhetoric and deadly conspiracy theories that put a direct target on the backs of Latino and immigrant communities in Texas and across the nation. He pointed to “rising” white nationalist conspiracy theories and rhetoric from elected Republicans and candidates, who have adopted these once-fringe beliefs and made them an integral part of their speeches, advertising, and political campaigns. Texas has already seen the deadly consequences of such rhetoric following the El Paso Walmart mass shooting in 2019. “I was nervous to do this but at the end of the day, I was like, I have to be the voice,” Martinez said ahead of the appearance. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I have to speak up for the ones that can’t speak anymore.” Read more here.

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