Each Friday through Election Day, we disseminate this memo highlighting the key 2020 developments at the intersection of electoral politics and immigration
Key Immigration Politics Stories
- Americans stand with Biden-Harris vision for immigrants in America.
- The “through-line” between Trumpian racism and white nationalist terror attacks.
- The most anti-immigrant President in history cynically stages a naturalization ceremony.
As the dust settles, this is clear: Americans strongly support Biden-Harris on immigration
- After all the racist dog-whistles, xenophobic fearmongering and make-believe moderation, let’s put the GOP convention in the rear-view window, recognize that the people that put us in the ditch won’t get us out of it, and build the future we want.
- On immigration, we know the profound differences between the cruel and cynical Trump-Pence administration and the fair and humane Biden-Harris platform. For example, Trump and Stephen Miller want to drive 11 million deeply-rooted undocumented immigrants out of the country, while a Biden-Harris administration promises to prioritize legislation to create a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
- Biden and Harris see immigrants as neighbors, essential workers and valued members of the national family. They promise to introduce a bill early to formally recognize undocumented immigrants as the Americans they already are.
The “through-line” between Trumpian racism and white nationalist terror attacks
- There’s a direct through-line from Trump’s rhetoric and policies to the embrace of his divisiveness by the Trumpified GOP to acts of violence committed by white nationalists. The danger is so palpable and the racism so entrenched that professional athletes from multiple sports are staging wildcat strikes to demand action.
- Former DHS Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention, Elizabeth Neumann, had this to say this past week: “Things like ‘there are good people on both sides,’ or ‘send them back to where they came from,’ those words gave permission to white supremacists to think that what they were doing was permissible. And I do think that the president’s divisive language is indirectly tied to some of the attacks that we have seen the past two years.”
- On Tuesday night, a 17 year-old Trump rally-goer responded to the call for militia men to show up on the scene of the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and ended up killing two and wounding one. We’ve seen this before. In Charlottesville, Virginia, a white supremacist drove into protestors and killed Heather Heyer; the Floridian pipe bomber attempted to murder and maim progressive and Democratic leaders; in Pittsburgh, a gunman worked up about the widely-embraced rightwing conspiracy that Jews are replacing whites with immigrants walked into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and killed eleven people; and n El Paso, a gunman who wrote an anti-immigrant manifesto eerily similar to a Trump rally speech and drove eight hours to kill 23 Mexican-Americans and Mexicans at a Walmart.
The most anti-immigrant President in history cynically uses naturalization ceremony as political theater and the immigrants as props
- The naturalization ceremony staged at the White House and aired as part of the GOP convention was deeply cynical. The most anti-immigrant president in history was shamelessly attempting to paper over his relentless animosity toward immigrants for low-information voters. Subsequent reporting discovered that several of the participants were not told that their naturalization ceremony would be aired as part of a partisan political event.
- As Mario Carrillo, Campaigns Manager of America’s Voice said: “As a naturalized U.S. citizen, and son of naturalized parents, watching Donald Trump’s naturalization ceremony in the White House was deeply disturbing. Not because of the immigrants who were there, who I’m glad can now share in the responsibility and protection provided by citizenship, but because Trump has made it his administration’s mission to close every avenue for legal immigration, while making life a living hell for undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers.”
- As Ur Jaddou, former counsel to USCIS under the Obama Administration and Director of AV’s DHS Watch points out: Over 300,000 Americans-in-waiting are at risk of not being naturalized on time for the election; the administration has refused to make legally available accommodations to ensure fully vetted, eligible applicants could be naturalized through remote ceremonies during COVID; the administration is increasing the naturalization application fee by over 80% on October 2; naturalization fee waivers will also be ended on October 2; and naturalization through military service has drastically diminished — by 65% — through red tape and bureaucratic hurdles.
Read Mario’s full take here; read Ur Jaddou of DHS Watch on the Trump Administration’s Real Record on Naturalization (see here)
New America’s Voice Videos
- New Video: Trump’s Long History of Hiring and Exploiting Undocumented Workers: While President Trump continues to try to stoke fears over immigrants and lawlessness, our new video offers a reminder that while Donald Trump attacks undocumented immigrants for political purposes, he hires and exploits undocumented immigrants for his personal businesses. The video features a series of clips and reminders about Trump’s long history of hiring and exploiting undocumented workers, including the courageous whistleblowers Victorina “Vicki” Morales and Sandra Diaz, who helped expose the Trump businesses’ decades-long practices and concludes with the reminder: “So when you hear Trump attacking immigrants on the campaign trail…remember he doesn’t mind immigrants when he makes money off them.” Watch the video: “Trump’s Immigration Hypocrisy”
- Decoding Dog-Whistles New Video: we also released our latest video in our Decoding Dog-Whistles video series, where we take on the false and coded racist messages that claim the non-white foreign other is “stealing American jobs.” Watch the video here
Campaign ads of the Week (from our newly remodeled site, 2020 Ad Watch)
- America First Action PAC, a big-money super PAC, is out with their second ad using anti-immigrant messaging in what they say is part of a $5.6 million dollar investment in Arizona. The ad begins with “Cristina” saying she “came here legally, the right way.” The ad continues with “Cristina” saying Biden is “too weak to stop the radicals” as protest signs calling for defunding the police are shown on screen. “Cristina” continues saying Biden is “too weak to protect our borders.”
- In NY-11 a battleground district that represents Staten Island, the Congressional Leadership Fund and Republican Nicole Malliotakis both dropped TV ads that employ a similar racist dog-whistle to attack Rep. Max Rose (D). Like all dog-whistles, the ads avoid naming race explicitly but frame calls for racial justice as an inherently threatening force. The CLF ad begins by saying “criminals hailed as freedom fighters” with a stock image of a sign – not from any protest – that reads “Burn the city down.” The CLF ad continues by attacking Rose for silently participating in a BLM march. The ad flashes clips of peaceful protesters and plays ominous music and portrays the march as dangerous and chaotic. Malliotakis’ ad criticizes reforms like ending cash bail, lowering prison populations, and reducing police budgets as “dangerous policies that will destroy OUR city.” The ad ends by saying that she wants “YOUR family and mine to be safe.” This coded racism seeks to inflame and divide to deflect from the GOP’s failures. It also should be noted that this coded racism is also working off a false characterization of Rose’s stated positions. Rose said, “I oppose #DefundThePolice and spoke out against efforts to cut funding.”