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

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Last weekend Donald Trump went over the cliff, commenting that immigrants are not real people, that the convicted felons of the January 6 attack on the government of the United States are heroes, and that there will be a “bloodbath” for the U.S. – or perhaps the auto industry (wink, wink) if he loses again in the general election. For the most part, the U.S. media got distracted over the coverage of the “bloodbath” comment and wrote off the latest former-president’s meltdown as Trump being Trump. At America’s Voice, we think it is much more important than that. That is one reason why Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas reached out to leaders at other organizations like SEIU, Voto Latino, Community Change Action, the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund, the Western States Center, and United We Dream Action to craft a joint statement pushing back on Trump’s dehumanizing escalation. That joint statement was covered by The Hill’s Rafael Bernal, whose story was reprinted by at least 30 other news outlets under the headline, “Top Latina advocates decry Trump’s ‘not people’ comments.” In a variety of ways, AV issued the call for reporters, politicians, advocates and observers to see Trump’s immigration rhetoric as the tip of the spear of his attack on elections and the legitimacy of our the multi-racial democracy. His dehumanizing rhetoric, in addition to inviting violence, goes well beyond threatening only immigrants or even people of color, but is in fact a way the former president is laying the groundwork for a repeat of election denial and a violent attempt to impose himself on the United States, regardless of how Americans vote. Read more here.


Everyone has been watching with horror as the political and human rights situation in Haiti deteriorates into violence, starvation and disruption. Twenty U.S. Senators and 47 House Representatives signed a letter calling on President Biden to extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and halt deportations to Haiti. The call from the Haitian Bridge Alliance and others to support for Haitian immigrants and those who might become displaced during the current emergency went out across the immigration advocacy community, with draft sign-on letters (sign up here) and press statements from a number of organizations, including AV. Vanessa Cárdenas urged the President to act with compassion and urgency, saying he “has an opportunity to lead while focusing on solutions, especially because some American politicians are already exploiting fear of Haitian immigrants and trying to use the situation in Haiti to divide Americans.” Read more here.


Texas communities have experienced legal whiplash during the past week following a series of developments around the state’s extreme “show me your paper” law. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court allowed Texas officials to proceed with implementing the law, which had been temporarily on hold as a lower court considered the law’s legality. But just hours later, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals again temporarily halted the law as litigants went to court to continue legal arguments. “Steve Vladeck, a University of Texas at Austin law professor, said the back-and-forth is ‘indefensibly chaotic,’” The Texas Tribune reported. The whiplash “shouldn’t distract anyone from the larger stakes and dangers of SB4 and its consequences for all Texans and our nation,” America’s Voice legal advisor David Leopold warned. Not only would S.B. 4 undercut the federal government’s supremacy on immigration law, it would “invite chaos and consequences that would result in harms well beyond immigrant communities,” he continued. Law enforcement voices in the state, for example, have expressed worries over racial profiling and accidentally deporting U.S. citizens. “My deputies are not trained for immigration work,” said the Eagle Pass sheriff. On Thursday, hundreds in El Paso marched to protest the legislation, to remember the migrants lost in the tragic Ciudad Juárez fire a year ago this month, and to continue fighting for the dignity and humanity of all migrants. “The El Paso community showed that the border is not a prop to be used for political gain, but instead a binational and bicultural region that highlights the best of us,” said Mario Carillo, Campaigns Director for America’s Voice. Read more here.


In her weekly column, America’s Voice consultant Maribel Hastings writes that Trump tried to clarify that when he said there will be a “bloodbath” if he loses the election, he was referring to the auto industry and a tariff war with China. But this so-called clarification “does not erase his history of xenophobic, incendiary, and violent rhetoric. The Spanish saying ‘crea fama y acuéstate a dormir’ [loosely translated as ‘your reputation will follow you everywhere’] certainly applies to Trump. Therefore, it’s no surprise he would say something like this. Moreover, the speech in Ohio where he pronounced the phrase was a dark and fatalistic one, where he referred to immigrants as ‘animals’ and declared that if he loses the election, democracy will end.” Hastings notes that Trump already incited a deadly bloodbath, when his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 to try to overturn the rightful results of the 2020 election. “Nothing has changed,” Hastings continues. “To the contrary, he acts even more emboldened. His strategy continues to focus on demonizing immigrants to rile up his base and those who feel upset by the situation at the border. But his threat goes even beyond that. He is already invoking ‘electoral fraud’ to undermine confidence in the system, and our very democracy may suffer the consequences.” Her column was also published in several outlets, including La Opinión, El Periódico USA, and Radio Bilingüe. Read her column in English here and in Spanish here.


X owner Elon Musk has launched a series of nativist claims that have stoked unfounded fears about the U.S. Census due to the inclusion of undocumented communities. The Census, however, is not part of some nefarious plot to erase the votes of “real Americans,” but instead a constitutionally-mandated count of all people in the U.S. Far from disempowering “real Americans,” the Census ensures that everyone is counted so that all communities get their full federal resources. But Musk’s tweets – which have been endorsed by Congressional Republicans including Senators J.D. Vance and Tommy Tuberville – are not random speculation. He’s instead an active participant in a right-wing campaign attempting to use immigrants to sow doubt and distrust in our electoral process, socializing the idea that any election result they don’t like can be blamed on this conspiracy of fraudulent immigrant voters. This should concern us all, because the far-right’s anti-immigrant obsession strikes at the very heart of our democratic values and threatens another January 6. “We must be unequivocal in our condemnation and clear-eyed about the dangers of the amplification to the replacement and invasion conspiracy,” said Vanessa Cárdenas. “It is not just about hate towards immigrants, but an attempt to scapegoat immigrants to undermine our democracy.” Read more here.


The replacement conspiracy is an old lie, largely lurking on the margins and the dark corners of neo-Nazi websites until 2017, when bigots marching in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, chanted: “You will not replace us, Jews will not replace us.” Since that deadly event, this once-fringe conspiracy theory is now an integral part of GOP speeches, political ads, and campaigns. Trump is escalating this violent rhetoric through his horrific dehumanization of immigrants, claiming they are “animals” and “not people.” History has taught us that before great atrocities have been committed against certain groups, dehumanization must first take place. Click here to share our graphic condemning this dangerous rhetoric.


Washington state residents, regardless of immigration status, will soon be able to pursue their career goals, following the signing of legislation changing certain application requirements for professional licenses. H.B. 1889 passed by strong majorities and will “open doors for careers in teaching, health care, accounting, and many other professions to those who are ready to join the Washington workforce,” Governor Jay Inslee said. College student Lizbeth Cervantes is among immigrants who stand to benefit. “I have attended a good school and have put in the hours of study to earn my degree,” she said. “All this work still does not mean access to a career. I am worried because, without a license, I will not be able to work in my field.” The bill is also a smart policy when several of these fields are dealing with a worker shortage. “We’re having trouble filling occupations that are crucial to taking care of Washington consumers,” said state Rep. Amy Walen, the bill’s main sponsor. “If someone can pass the very rigorous standards that we have in the state of Washington … why do we need to know about their federal documentation status?” Washington now joins a number of other states, including California, Illinois, and New Jersey, in passing legislation lifting up families and boosting local economies. “I want to share that I, and students like myself, want to learn, work, and help the country,” Cervantes continued. “With access to a professional license, I would be able to help others as a health care professional.” Read more here.

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