tags: , Press Releases

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

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Six immigrant workers are missing or confirmed dead after a freighter lost power and pummeled into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore this week, causing it to collapse into the Patapsco River. The men were part of a crew that was repairing potholes on the bridge in the predawn hours when the horrific accident occurred. While the identities of all six men are not yet publicly known, we do know that they were part of the essential workforce that our nation depends on every day. Yet in the immediate hours following the tragedy, and before affected families even knew about the status of their loved ones, right-wing figures twisted this terrible accident to fearmonger about the border. The reality is that many immigrants risk their lives to come to the U.S. and then continue taking risks as they try to make a living to support their families, carrying out essential work that benefits everyone – including the opponents of immigration. In the days after the Baltimore Bridge collapse, leading voices have commented on the tragic loss of life and the importance of immigrants in our industrial and economic complexes. “They were doing a backbreaking job at a wretched hour, one many other Americans simply can’t or won’t do ― all so their neighbors could drive safely to their warm, comfortable office cubicles in the dawn’s early light … These six workers who perished were not ‘poisoning the blood of our country,’ they were replenishing it. This is a moment of clarity when we need to reject the national disease of xenophobia and restore our faith in the United States as a beacon for the best people like Suazo [Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval],” Will Bunch wrote in his column in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Douglas Rivlin, Sr. Communications Director for America’s Voice: “Immigrants have poured their heart, soul and yes, their lives into building America. The recent tragedy in Baltimore once again reminds Americans that we are a nation of immigrants and a land of hope, opportunity and pursuit of the American dream.” Read more here.


Strap in. It’s going to be a busy year. Now, in full general election mode, both Biden and Trump released dueling ads seeking to define the other on immigration. The Biden campaign is targeting Latinos, elevating Trump’s parroting of Nazi-era rhetoric that immigrants “are poisoning the blood of our country.” Meanwhile, the pro-Trump super PAC, MAGA Inc., is lifting up Biden’s promise that he will not build another mile of border wall. “By directly addressing Latino and immigrant voters, lifting up the contributions of immigrants to the American experience, and confronting the ugly, fearful, and hate-based campaign of Donald Trump, President Biden is illustrating the choices in this election,” said AV Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas. In other political news, some mainstream political reporters seem to be latching on to the GOP and white nationalist term “invasion” to describe immigration, pushing Democrats in interviews to use “invasion” as a litmus test on immigration views. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), appearing on Fox News over the weekend, took the opportunity to explain how the rhetoric of invasion is linked to deadly political violence. His response: “I think you got to be careful throwing around words like ‘invasion.’ It was that kind of wording that led the deranged guy to go shoot up the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing folks a couple of years ago. And I think that kind of rhetoric is irresponsible.” Cárdenas, who lives in Virginia, noted: “Sitting on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Kaine knows what a real invasion looks like, and it’s not desperate people looking to seek safety through the nation’s legal asylum process…The murderous rage displayed in Charlottesville, VA in 2017 was evidence of the inextricable link between the invasion and replacement conspiracy theory and violence.” The escalation of Trump’s rhetoric on immigration, especially when compared to 2020 when he seems to have increased his support among voters of color, may come at a cost. As AV’s Sr. Research Director Zachary Mueller observed, “As we have seen in many elections since 2016, this may be an error…as extremism – including extremism on immigration – and hostility to people of color, has been a liability to Trump and MAGA candidates in general elections …” Read more here.


In her weekly column, America’s Voice consultant Maribel Hastings writes that the fight for the Latino vote is ongoing and that President Biden can make up lost ground by marking clear contrasts with Trump and recognizing the contributions of Latinos and immigrants to this country. “Joe Biden’s statement last week to Latino voters in Phoenix, Arizona reflects what’s on the line, in what is being portrayed as a tight election between the Democratic president and the Republican former president, Donald Trump: ‘I need you badly,’” Hastings said. She adds that “although in political terms, the November 5th contest is worlds away, various surveys have found that Latino support for Biden has eroded since 2020, when a CBS News poll concluded that 65% of Latinos supported him. Now it’s around 53%, although he continues to prevail over Trump among this diverse group of voters. The key is maintaining and increasing that support, ensuring that disaffected voters come out and vote because, as it’s been said, a voter who stays home is a vote for the other side – in this case, Trump.” Hastings writes that by “recognizing the contributions of immigrants and the entire Latino community, and delineating contrasts with Trump, Biden can effectively appeal to Hispanic voters.” Immigrants, she points out, like the ones who perished in the collapse of the Francis Scott Key bridge in Baltimore, Maryland. “They were working the most difficult shifts, not ‘poisoning the blood of our nation,’ like Trump says.” Her column was also published in several outlets, including La OpiniónLa Tribuna Hispana and Hoy DallasRead her column in English here and in Spanish here.


Ahead of César Chávez Day this Sunday, several rallies around the country have been shining an important light on the late labor leader’s legacy, the vital contributions of farmworkers, and the ongoing need for dignity and protection for these essential laborers. United Farm Workers hosted an event in Washington state, where the labor organization has been fighting for the rights of mushroom workers who have faced retaliation after attempting to unionize. In Texas, LUPE’s annual César Chávez March linked his fight for farmworker justice to the struggles facing borderland communities today, including the state’s draconian “show me your papers” law currently blocked by the courts. Despite their essential work feeding America, millions of farmworkers all across the nation remain at risk due to our outdated immigration system. At least half of the nation’s roughly 2.4 million farmworkers are estimated to lack legal immigration status. These essential workers fed us during the pandemic and risked their lives to keep our vital food sector running. While it’s necessary to recognize and honor their labor, we can and must do more. This César Chávez Day, let’s recommit ourselves to ensuring that farmworkers and other essential workers finally win the dignity, respect, and protection they deserve. As Chávez once said, “the fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.” Read more here.


X owner Elon Musk recently launched a series of nativist claims that have stoked unfounded fears about the Census due to the inclusion of undocumented communities. But his tweets aren’t random speculation. He’s fueling conspiracy theories using immigrants to sow doubt and distrust in our electoral process. Not only is this flat-out wrong, it’s dangerous because this anti-immigrant obsession strikes at the very heart of our democratic values. Click here to watch and share our TikTok debunking Musk’s unfounded attacks on the Census and the tenets of our democracy.


CASA said that two of its members are among the missing workers from the Key Bridge collapse in Baltimore. Maynor Yassir Suazo Sandoval, originally from Honduras, dreamed of opening a small business and loved all things machinery. Miguel Luna, originally from El Salvador, worked alongside Sandoval. During one recent weekend, he brought lunch for all 20 crew members from his wife’s food truck. CASA Executive Director Gustavo Torres mourned the devastation facing all the affected families. “In a time when there is so much hatred against the immigrant community, we look to the story of Maynor and Miguel who built bridges to connect communities, not building walls to divide them,” he said. The organization has linked to a fundraiser for impacted families. Global Refuge, which is headquartered in Baltimore, also expressed solidarity with essential workers. “This catastrophe has already disproportionately impacted our city’s immigrant community, one that often toils in demanding and dangerous jobs to the benefit of all who call Baltimore home,” said President and CEO Krish O’Mara Vignarajah. “Having walked alongside our city’s newcomers for decades, we know firsthand how courageous and resilient our immigrant neighbors are. We stand in solidarity with these families, and all those seeking a safer, better life for their loved ones.”

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