Last night, community leaders, immigrant families, and allies gathered throughout battleground states to watch the first of three Presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
In an election cycle dominated by racist rhetoric and bigotry, the two candidates have offered the starkest contrast on immigration in recent history – one of inclusion and one of division – and immigrant families know what’s at stake this November.
In addition to Donald Trump’s pledge to immediately end President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for DREAMers – a real threat to a real program that is a real benefit for approximately 750,000 DACA recipients – the GOP nominee has promised to round up 11 million immigrants; ban all Muslims from admission into the U.S.; revoke birthright citizenship from 4.5 million citizens;” and roundup Syrian refugees already resettled.
Secretary Clinton has pledged to introduce comprehensive immigration reform legislation with a path to citizenship in the first 100 days. She supports President Obama’s original DACA program, as well as his DAPA and expanded DACA executive actions.
The contrast was clear as families and friends gathered in Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin for battleground debate watch parties and to discuss the high stakes of the 2016 election.
Full coverage of the swing state watch parties is available here, and key quotes from watch party attendees and State Directors are below.
Alvina Vasquez, State Director of Colorado’s Voice, said “I sat in a packed room of young voters, new voters, and new citizens, all motivated. We are motivated by the passion we have for our country – to protect it from a disastrous presidency that could be. We learned nothing new in the debate last night. It simply served as a reminder of Republican candidate Donald Trump’s unrelenting sexism and bigotry.”
Elbert Garcia, State Director of Florida’s Voice, said “There is nothing more inspiring than to see a room full people – each with their own set of experiences and relationships to both each other and to our social institutions – engage in the political process. At its core, democracy is not about talking points or the blow-by-blow analysis of pundits. It’s about people deciding how they are going to connect to one another and their leaders to build a better world for their loved ones.”
Viridiana Vidal, State Director of Nevada’s Voice, said “Yesterday, once more, Donald Trump attacked our community; bragged about an endorsement from ICE, a federal agency, when he apparently meant the union; lied about his own record; showed that he doesn’t understand critical issues; and proved that he is not fit to be our next president. Please go out and vote, for you, for your country, and for the millions of families that cannot vote in this election. This is a critical election where the America we know could be changed forever, it is in your hands to make it right.”
Tim Eakins, State Director of North Carolina’s Voice, said “The debate over Trump’s candidacy ended for most Latinos on that first day when he descended that escalator to call Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. So last night, as Donald Trump was making a buffoon of himself on stage, Latino organizations here in North Carolina wasted no time and used the night to continue their statewide phone banking campaign to inspire Latino voters to make history on November 8. Over the next 40 days, we will continue to work tirelessly to make sure we deliver a crushing defeat to Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Latino, and Anti-American rhetoric.”
Lynn Tramonte, State Director of Ohio’s Voice, said “If Ohio decides this election, it will be because a diverse group of Ohioans – like the folks who came to our debate party last night – decided to stand up and band together against Trump’s universal hate.”
José Estrada a veteran and member of Voces de la Frontera Action, said “Trump lied, blustered and interrupted. He continued to demonstrate his racism and scorn for hard working immigrant families. I came from Mexico and I have lived in Wisconsin 40 years. I served in the National Guard, and I retired after working in a factory for decades. Trump thinks my family and I never should have been here. That’s why I am canvassing in my neighborhood and asking everyone in my extended family to vote. We have come too far as a community to let someone like Trump come to power. His whole campaign is based on lies, bullying and making it impossible for families like mine to achieve the American Dream.”