Washington, DC – Below is a column by Maribel Hastings and David Torres from America’s Voice en Español translated to English from Spanish. It ran in several Spanish-language media outlets earlier this week:
This week marks contrasts in the U.S. Congress. While beneficiaries of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) who belong to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) carry out two days of legislative advocacy, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee continue to waste time with political theater, trying to impeach the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Alejandro Mayorkas. Their “argument”? “Dereliction of duty” to manage the border.
Each group’s priorities are increasingly evident. Some want to fight for an inclusive, strong, prosperous, diverse, and democratic United States that is trying to solve problems and advance. Others, who prefer supremacy as a lifestyle, close those doors and adopt questioning postures to destroy the idea and the image of a country with hope.
While there are so many pending matters on the immigration front that need sensible and prompt solutions, as in the case of TPS or DACA beneficiaries, or the 11 million undocumented people, the Republicans who control the House and, through it, the key committees, are focused on fabricating a crisis where there is none, in order to appease their anti-immigrant political base.
It’s simply about using their majority to spit poison about immigrants and against a leader who, by the way, came to this country as a Cuban refugee, and is Hispanic and Jewish, so that the racist details of Republican intentions do not go unnoticed. After all, they are the same Republicans who employ white supremacist language to attack immigrants and officials like Mayorkas.
Essentially, that is what this circus Republicans organized against an immigrant who became part of a Democratic cabinet is all about. The idea is to get rid of him, politically-speaking, because “he does not represent them.” This is the same attitude that the most recalcitrant, conservative wing adopted with Barack Obama as president, and to this day they have not recovered from the fact that a person of African descent ascended to the White House democratically.
What’s more, they say that they have to impeach Mayorkas for “abandoning” his duty to control the border, at a time when the numbers of detentions and border crossings are at their lowest levels of the Joe Biden presidency, and when the end of Title 42 did not generate the chaos they anticipated.
And they do it when the only ones who are generating a migration crisis on a humanitarian and economic level are Republican governors like Greg Abbott, in Texas, and Ron DeSantis, in Florida. Abbott believes he has the right to intervene in federal immigration law at will and wins political points by installing buoys or concertina wire at the border; or violating the humanity of migrants by denying them water, returning them to the Rio Grande, or sending them as merchandise to cities and states governed by Democrats.
DeSantis—for his part, an expert in using immigrants as political pawns, signed a law that, beyond the humanitarian crisis, is affecting his state’s economy. But the damage to Florida and therefore, the rest of the country, has already been done. And although what the nation and world say doesn’t seem to matter to the most racist and xenophobic Republicans—due to their arrogance in every sense of the word—the social fabric that also covered them has been unraveling little by little, and they have no intention of mending it.
While those Republicans opt for racism, xenophobia, obstruction, and bad faith on the migration front, the real world continues to spin, and migrants who exercise vital functions in our economy and daily life continue on with a commitment worthy of admiration. In fact, they are the best example of what the U.S. spirit means—that which gives everything for the common good, which stands in solidarity with the most noble causes, and is not afraid to continue on in the face of adversity.
We’re talking about migrants like Norma, a TPS beneficiary from El Salvador, who has been in the United States for more than 23 years. She is an essential worker in Los Angeles, California, who has taken care of elderly patients in their homes for the past 15 years. She belongs to SEIU Local 2015, and owns her own home. She lives with her husband and their two daughters, who are DACA beneficiaries.
Norma is visiting legislators in Congress with a clear mission: “Just like I am a beneficiary of TPS, I want many families who also need that opportunity to have it. Especially those from Guatemala and Central American countries who could qualify for TPS.”
The participants of these lobby days are seeking support from lawmakers so that President Biden redesignates TPS for El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Nepal, and extends it to Guatemala and other nations that need it.
“I know that if they give those families the opportunity, and grant them TPS, they can advance and clearly contribute to the U.S. economy,” she added. “We immigrants come to this country to work hard. We have contributed to this country ever since they gave us the opportunity. We pay our taxes. We follow the law.”
“No job is too difficult. No matter what it is, as long as they value and respect us as workers and human beings, we are going to work hard,” concluded Norma.
To read the Spanish version of this article click here.