tags: , Press Releases

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

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In the end, immigration was not a main topic in the presidential debate in Atlanta on Thursday. As we had been hoping (and hope all journalists are doing), Jake Tapper of CNN asked a direct question of Donald Trump about his plans for mass deportation, specifically if those plans included “every undocumented immigrant in America… those who have jobs…those whose spouses are citizens, and…those who have lived here for decades?” As we noted after the debate, Trump refused to answer, switching topics and then coming back to his tired, divisive talking points about immigrants and crime. And Tapper didn’t follow up and Biden didn’t press the issue, which was a missed opportunity to press the former president on his extreme family separation and mass deportation plans. AV held a virtual video pre-debate press conference with allies from the Latino Victory Project, the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund, FWD.us and the Immigration Hub (recording and press release here) and prepared a series of materials for reporters and allies before the debate. These include a social media toolkit, the week’s AVES column (see below), a framing memo, a “cheat sheet” for putting Trump disinformation in context, talking points for advocates, talking points on crime and public safety disinformation, a blog on the effects of past anti-immigrant legislation in Georgia, and helped coordinate a joint statement from Latino leaders on Trump’s crime rhetoric. “We had hoped and called for a question to Trump about mass deportation, yet when asked exactly that, Trump refused to answer and pivoted to tell lies about immigrants,” America’s Voice Executive Director Vanessa Cárdenas said following the debate. “Trump needs to answer the question and the American people deserve to hear specifics about his destabilizing, radical plan.” Read more here.


In a major victory led by Haitian community leaders, organizations, and families, the Biden administration has announced the extension and redesignation of TPS for Haiti. This critical win provides much-needed relief and stability to thousands of Haitian immigrants already in the U.S., Haitian Bridge Alliance said in a statement received by AV. It’s also a win for the nation. “Extending and redesignating TPS is the right course of action considering that TPS-eligible individuals contribute nearly $31 billion annually to the U.S. economy,” said Haitian Bridge Alliance Executive Director Guerline Jozef. In a statement, Vanessa Cárdenas called the extension and expansion “a welcome development that advances American interests and values, keeps families together, and offers reminders of the dueling visions and larger stakes for this election across the nation. While one party is proposing to end TPS, deport people by the millions, and separate even deeply rooted, long-term immigrants who are working and parts of American communities, the President is making it clear that he prioritizes keeping families together with actions like this one on TPS.” Read more here.


In a new column at Combating Nativist Narratives, Joe Sudbay and America’s Voice legal advisor David Leopold write about the Supreme Court’s recent decision in State Department v. Muñoz, which should have been a relatively simple immigration case. Instead, the right-wingers on the court, led by Justice Amy Coney Barrett, expanded their decision to lay the groundwork to undermine hard-fought civil rights and liberties. This time, they used an immigration case to attack the fundamental right to marriage, which could have dire implications for same-sex couples, as Justice Sonia Sotomayor made explicitly clear. “Same-sex couples,” Sotomayor warned in her strong dissent, “may be forced to relocate to countries that do not recognize same-sex marriage or even those that criminalize homosexuality … The majority’s failure to respect the right to marriage in this country consigns U.S. citizens to rely on the fickle grace of other countries immigration laws to vindicate one of the ‘basic civil rights of man’ and live alongside their spouses.” Clearly, the court no longer pretends to abide by the doctrine of judicial restraint. “As so many of their GOP colleagues do, those Justices used immigration as a tool to expand their attacks on individual rights,” Leopold and Sudbay concluded. Read more here.


In her weekly column, America’s Voice consultant Maribel Hastings writes that there are clear distinctions in immigration policy between President Biden and Trump. “While it is true that some of the measures taken by Biden have upset pro-immigrant groups and progressives,” Hastings writes, “many seem to forget the atrocities committed by the Trump administration, like the separation of children and babies from their parents at the border; others they tried to implement but were stopped in the courts, like the Muslim ban or eliminating DACA; and those they plan to implement if a forgetful nation decides to deliver him the reins to this country for a second time.” In the face of Congressional inaction on a pathway to citizenship, President Biden has made use of administrative measures and executive orders, including the program for temporary residence (parole) for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans (CHNV), the Welcome Corps refugee sponsorship program, and the recent action protecting certain DACA recipients and the undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens. “We do not know what will happen on November 5,” Hastings concludes. “But we do know that there are clear distinctions between both figures on immigration and other vital issues for the country. The question is, what will voters decide?” Her column was also published in several outlets, including El Diario, Radio Bilingüe, and was featured as the leading story in La Opinión’s election newsletter. Read her column in English here and in Spanish here.


For several American families who stand to be impacted by President Biden’s recent announcement protecting certain DACA recipients and the undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens, the standout word also seems to be “hope.” In Pennsylvania, retired educator Allyson Batista was optimistic that the president’s announcement will mean security for her family. It’s a common misconception that marrying a U.S. citizen automatically confers U.S. citizenship. But as Batista and her husband have found out, the road is long, expensive, and arduous. “Initially, when we got married, I was naive and thought, ‘OK, but I’m American. This isn’t going to be a problem. We’re going to fix this,’” Batista told The Guardian. “I learned very early on that we were facing a pretty dire circumstance and that there would be no way for us to move forward in an immigration process successfully.” But following the president’s announcement, Batista said she’s “hopeful. The next 60 days will really tell. But obviously more than thrilled because every step forward is a step towards a final resolution for all kinds of immigrant families.” Read more here.


We know what Trump plans to do on immigration if he returns to the White House in January 2025 because the Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 has laid it all out as clear as day. From blocking federal financial aid for all students in states that embrace Dreamers to deploying a “red state” army to round up our neighbors, Trump’s plans on immigration will devastate our nation, both in economic and human costs. Click here to share our graphic on what’s at stake this November. 


AILA has released a set of videos in English and Spanish sharing important information on the new Biden administration protections for certain Dreamers and the undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens. The videos stress the gravity of protecting yourself and your family from false legal services. “It is important to note that all the details to apply for these new programs are not yet available,” advocates say in English here and in Spanish here. “It’ll be 60 days or longer before the government puts procedures in place to apply for these benefits. Please don’t trust anyone who claims they can provide you with immediate results or special solutions.” In another must-watch video, the Acacia Center for Justice partnered with creator and attorney Reb Masel to release a new TikTok explainer on the Biden administration’s recent asylum bars and bans. “With this executive order, Biden is using the same exact authority that Trump used in his executive order to initiate his Muslim and African bans,” Masel says. Click here to watch.

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