tags: , Press Releases

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

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Donald Trump again tried to minimize the significance of the deadly 2017 Charlottesville rally where white supremacists chanted “Jews will not replace us” and later murdered counter-protester Heather Heyer, this week referring to that horrifying weekend as “little peanuts …” As Hannah Knowles highlighted in the Washington Post, “Trump’s comments were a remarkable framing of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, which even some allies considered a low point in his presidency.” However, unlike in 2017, no Republican voices are speaking out to denounce Trump’s latest horrifying comments. “The GOP’s silence is reflective of the full-throated mainstreaming of deadly white nationalist and antisemitic conspiracy theories aimed at triggering white resentment, like ‘invasion’ and ‘replacement’ lies and conspiracies, the Republicans now fully embrace,” said AV Senior Research Director Zachary Mueller. AV has tracked “at least 20 examples of Republicans using it in floor speeches this legislative session, up from seven during the last session and none before that,” as reported by Jazmine Ulloa in her must-read The New York Times piece on Friday. Mueller said that while it’s no surprise that Trump is again attempting to distort the significance of white nationalism and Charlottesville, “it’s sure a telling reflection that he’s no longer an outlier in the Republican Party of 2024 and that no one in the House, Senate or right-wing media environment dares respond even when he crosses these many redlines.” Read more here.


Across the pro-immigrant movement, there is a push for the President to take action to protect immigrants, allow them to work and contribute fully to our growing economy. A feature story in the Wall Street Journal lifted up the urgent call of U.S. citizens whose spouses are undocumented who might benefit if President Biden takes action, including former school teacher Allyson Batista of Pennsylvania, who is also on the board of American Families United, a group fighting for legal status for the spouses of U.S. citizens. Batista was among those who spoke at a press conference at the National Press Club on Monday organized by the Immigration Hub and covered by Reuters and The Hill, among others. For AV’s part, we have focused on the political aspects of the choices President Biden has, with Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas saying, “In poll after poll, it remains clear that the majority of the American people support legalizing immigrants who have been in the U.S. for a long time.” She followed up, saying, “Yes, our immigration system is broken and yes, we need to bring order to the border. But let’s be clear: the American public wants a comprehensive solution, not a band-aid approach focused on enforcement.” Read more here.


While GOP elected officials and candidates are embracing dangerous and antisemitic “invasion” and “replacement” immigration conspiracies tied to numerous mass terror events, even anti-immigrant voices are trying to do damage control and spin away their past usage of such rhetoric. The Hill’s Rafael Bernal highlighted the recent House hearing where Jessica Vaughan, a staffer with the anti-immigrant hate group Center for Immigration Studies, “vehemently denied” using antisemitic “invasion” rhetoric. But this was a lie. Bernal reported that another Tanton network group, NumbersUSA, also claimed to not use such language. The denials from these organizations underscore how far the GOP has gone off the rails on anti-immigration lies and conspiracies: even notoriously anti-immigrant voices outside of the GOP seem more careful in associating with rhetoric tied to deadly acts of real-world violence. The dangerous radicalization occurring in the GOP should be blindingly clear, said AV’s Zachary Mueller. “They are doubling down to advance ‘invasion’ as the undergirding of actual policies and laws while spewing rhetoric with clear connections to violence at the Tree of Life synagogue and elsewhere.” Read more here.


In her weekly column, America’s Voice consultant Maribel Hastings writes that pro-immigrant measures are both the right and smart thing to do. In light of reports that the president is exploring work permits for long-settled immigrants, Hastings reminds of bold actions taken by the Obama administration that both provided relief for families and benefited Democrats electorally. In the face of Congressional inaction on immigration, “Dreamers intensified pressure on Obama to create an executive order that would protect them from deportation and offer them work permits,” Hastings said. “The White House insisted it could not do it.” The result was intense discontent from Latino voters, who were already incensed over the number of deportations he undertook to win “support” from Republicans on legislative action. But internal polling seemed to confirm that Obama was at risk of losing this key constituency. Combined with continued pressure from Dreamers, the result was DACA. “After announcing DACA, Obama won re-election in 2012 with increased support among Latino voters, 71% compared to 67% in 2008,” Hastings continued. “Biden knows all of this first hand as he was Obama’s Vice President. Now, in his own re-election battle, the polls show him in a tight race with Trump and that means that every vote is important in order to prevail, especially in key states to win the presidency and where the Latino vote is important.” But as history shows, pro-immigrant measures also pay benefits at the polls. 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.


The recent saga around actor J. Antonio Rodriguez’s abrupt departure from his hit musical production shines an important light on the continued need for permanent relief for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients. Last month, Rodriguez was forced to temporarily depart from his “Hadestown” musical, which is currently on tour and features the actor in a leading role. “But this was no standard departure,” as Playbill noted. Rodriguez’s authorization to work had expired following months of processing delays, forcing him to temporarily pull out from the show. While he remained under contract and could continue traveling with his colleagues, he was blocked from working. It added to the anxiety he’s already experienced throughout his life as an undocumented immigrant. He’s not alone: some DACA renewals have been delayed as long as five months. Recently, Rodriguez finally received the good news he’d been hoping for: his protections had been renewed, and he would return to the stage. While he’s happy he can perform onstage again, “there are still 600,000 with similar stories who are in the same predicament,” he said. “I’m going to continue to fight for a pathway to citizenship and urge everybody to make their voices be heard – to your communities, friends, and politicians. I know firsthand how powerful the fear of speaking out can be, but we must continue to fight.” Read more here.


Recent reporting revealed that Truth Social, the right-wing social media site owned and used by Trump, applied for and was approved for a type of worker visa he’s railed against for years. It’s not a one-off. Trump has a long history of taking advantage of immigrants and immigration policies he demonized, including hiring undocumented immigrants to do his laundry and pursuing hundreds of foreign worker visas to cater to guests at his resorts. He talks tough on immigrants, but the fact is he’s relied on immigrants for years. Click here to share our graphic.


A letter organized by America’s Voice Education Fund and joined by 153 groups calls on elected leaders to “collectively and forcefully denounce the use of dehumanizing and demagogic rhetoric about immigrants.” While policy disagreements are understandable, the letter states that research has repeatedly shown that dehumanizing language comparing immigrants to vermin and non-humans “is connected to, and a precondition for, discrimination, oppression, violence, and, in extreme cases, murder or even genocide of an outgroup. Dehumanization is often a predictor and a primer of oppression, warming people up to the idea that oppressing another group is acceptable because they are a threat or not fully human.” The letter, which was featured in Politico, is available in full here. AV is also among 140 groups to have endorsed a letter led by Reps. Yvette Clarke, Ayanna Pressley, and Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick urging the president to act on humanitarian relief for Haiti. “We urge the Administration to redesignate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), halt deportations back to Haiti, and extend humanitarian parole to any Haitians currently detained in Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) detention centers,” 53 Members of Congress write. “Additionally, we request your administration’s end to the detention of Haitian migrants who were interdicted at sea. The possibility of transferring them to Guantánamo Bay naval base and other offshore migrant detention centers is concerning and must not be explored.” Read the full letter here.