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America's Voice

 

The Pain is Real But Our Resilience is Strong and November is Our Focus

 

After yesterday’s heartbreaking deadlock in US v. Texas, this much is clear: immigrants and their allies are feeling the sting of the setback, but we are determined to dust ourselves off, build our power and make sure it is felt this November and beyond.

As evidenced by accounts from across the country, those of us who are immigrants and those of us who stand with them will keep fighting for reforms that give undocumented immigrants in our country a chance to live with dignity in the place they call home.

Below we lift up just some of the people who give voice to the real pain we feel and the strong determination to keep fighting.

Luba Cortes, New York Times, “My Undocumented Mom, America’s Housekeeper”:

My mother and I moved from Puebla, Mexico to the United States in October 1999, and we have lived in New York ever since. My little sister was born here. In Puebla, my mother was a lawyer. Here she part of the pool of undocumented immigrants…

My mother and others like her are pushed to the background of conversations about immigration reform. When people talk about who “deserves” to have a path to citizenship, they like to talk about young people who came to this country as children and therefore, most now can agree, don’t deserve to be punished for it…

But if I don’t deserve to be punished, then my mother doesn’t, either. Because she brought me here, I got a chance to go school, I got a chance to put down roots and build friendships, even while my childhood was vastly different from those of many, and my days were spent in the homes of strangers helping my mom fold and clean…

My mom, however, still cleans houses; my mom is still undocumented; and my mom is still criminalized by an administration that continues to deport the most vulnerable members of our community. Thanks to the Supreme Court, that’s not going to change anytime soon.

We will have to keep fighting to live without fear in this place we call home. But in moments like these, of sadness and defeat, I think of the night that we crossed the border. As we were running, I fell and for a moment looked up to the night sky, scared that I would be left behind. But my mom was there, she was there all along — she picked me up, and we started running again.

Elia Rosas and Greisa Martinez, Dallas Morning News, “Dallas-area immigrants stung by Supreme Court vote”:

Elia Rosas and Greisa Martínez  spent Thursday morning consoling each other after the U.S. Supreme Court took no action on their long struggle to gain legal immigration status.

“When there are difficulties, that is when our character and strength come out,” Rosas said by phone to her daughter, the Dallas-raised advocacy director for United We Dream. “We will keep fighting.”

On the other end of the call, the voice of her 27-year-old daughter — who was in Washington for the decision — sounded muffled. Then came sobs. “Don’t cry, mi’ja,” the mother said, a wet tissue in her hand.

Her other daughter, Girsea Martínez, a U.S. citizen, vowed to vote and bring others to the polls so that politicians would be elected who could craft legislation that would benefit immigrants who have been in the U.S. unlawfully for years, or decades.

“I will make sure all our friends can vote,” Girsea Martínez said.

Cris Mercado, an unauthorized immigrant, in TIME Magazine: The Supreme Court’s Immigration Decision Hurts Every Single American:

“The resilience that immigrant allies, activists, organizers and DREAMers like me continue to possess. When I look at all the immigrant organization acronyms, from NILC to NYIC, to me they spell out F-I-G-H-T. I’m reminded of how the FWD.us team helped a six-year-old Sophie Cruz enter the Supreme Court chambers to witness opening arguments. I think back to a trip to Austin to meet other unauthorized immigrants. While there, I learned of women like Jacqui and her heroic efforts to provide for her children and parents as she was unfairly arrested and sent through deportation proceedings. These people—Americans by any other definition—are what remind me that this morning’s United States v. Texas decision is just temporary. It is not final. One day we will win. And we will welcome everyone to join us as we celebrate.”

Cristina Jiménez, United We Dream, Buzzfeed News “Democrats, Activists See Supreme Court Deadlock On Immigration As Fuel For November”:

“We’re going to be clear with our community about who is responsible for this happening — Republicans, and not only members of Congress, but the Republican Party down the ballot…We’re not going to forget about who is responsible for this on Election Day.”

Jorge Ramos, Fusion, “Let me dream with you,” in a recent speech to United We Dream:

You have been leading this civil rights movement from the beginning: you changed the President’s mind, your ideals have already reached the Supreme Court and I’m even willing to say that your future is in your own hands.

I know that many of you can’t vote. But a fellow Dreamer told me something interesting. She said: I can’t vote but I’ll make sure that 100 people go to vote. So here’s my challenge to you: find 100 people who can vote and make sure that they’ll go to the polls this November. If each one of you does the same, this will be a historic election for all Latinos.

…You know exactly what to do.

Be bold.

Don’t sit down.

Don’t shut up.

Don’t be a victim; change the rules of the game.

And don’t go anywhere else.

This is where you belong.

New York Times Editorial Board: “Impasse and Heartbreak on Immigration”:

Many more will now have to await another day, another president, another Congress. On Thursday morning on the Supreme Court steps a boisterous gathering of immigrant advocates and families fell silent on the news of the 4-to-4 vote. Amid the tears and hugs was a firm resolve to keep on fighting, the only option in the face of injustice.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL): “We are disappointed but not defeated”:

“The Supreme Court decided not to decide the case so the strategy of Republicans using the courts and inaction in Congress to bring all policy changes to a halt has prevailed for now. Four to five million people will not be able to come froward to affirmatively apply for temporary protection from deportation…and the ability to work legally, but 45 million Latino citizens will be energized and mobilized by the Court’s failure to decide….It will not be difficult for most people to decide if the ninth Justice should be selected by Secretary Clinton or her opponent and to decide which part will fight for legal immigration and legalization in the next Congress.”

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Buzzfeed News, “Democrats, Activists See Supreme Court Deadlock On Immigration As Fuel For November”: 

“It’s a sad day certainly for our movement and for justice, but it is not the end and I think it crystallizes very powerfully the importance of November’s elections for our community…Now that we have lost this battle, we can win the war in November.” 

Maria Teresa Kumar, Voto Latino, ThinkProgress, “The Devastating Aftermath Of The Supreme Court’s Immigration Decision”:

“Time and time again, Latinos and immigrants have showed resilience as a community and now more than ever, it is important that we continue to show our resilience and power at the ballot box.”

Angelica Salas, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) ThinkProgress, “The Devastating Aftermath Of The Supreme Court’s Immigration Decision”:

“This betrayal is personal for us…We will hold anti-immigrants who brought this meritless lawsuit forward accountable in November. As these politicians have tried so hard to tear our families apart, we will return strengthened, committed, organized, and ready to elect pro-immigrant leaders and the local, state, and federal levels in 2016.”

Find more reactions, tweets, and photos from across the country on America’s Voice blog post, “La Lucha Continua”: Leaders Vow To Keep Fighting For Justice For Immigrant Families”.