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Policy and Political Experts to Discuss How Immigration on the Ballot Played Out in 2020

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A recording of the call is available here.


Earlier today, policy and political experts who worked to mobilize voters and tracked the immigration issue gathered on a call to discuss the significant role immigrants and voters of color played in the historic 2020 election cycle. Immigration, once seen as a key wedge to be used by Republicans to weaken Democrats, turned out to be a liability for Republicans and an asset for Democrats in 2020. Trump’s nativist immigration policies have come to define his presidency, but when this agenda posed a great threat to his reelectibility, Trump tried to backtrack, downplaying his xenophobic record.

The American people reacted to Trump’s pivoting agenda on immigration and today’s call showed how these reactions translated into votes.

Greisa Martinez Rosas, DACA recipient and Executive Director, United We Dream Action, said,  “Despite four years of the most racist, cruel, anti-immigrant policies, our people showed up and we pushed back. Young people, Latinx and Black people looked directly into the eyes of white supremacy and showed up in record numbers to deal its first strike. As of this morning, Joe Biden has 4 million more votes than Trump. Let’s be clear, this is a mandate from the majority of Americans. Now our communities have a clear message for Biden: We need you to deliver for immigrants – executive actions and legislation to protect immigrants right away. We won’t wait. The people have a mandate for bold, unapologetic, progressive policies to protect our people!” 

“The pandemic has proven how essential domestic work is, along with so much low-wage work in our economy. Our essential workforce needs immediate relief and a recovery plan that creates economic security and resilience, including for the millions of immigrants who are essential,” said National Domestic Workers Alliance Executive Director Ai-jen Poo. “That’s why domestic workers, their families, and their communities mobilized to the polls by the millions. We are ready to create a future where we can live and work in safety and dignity, care for our families and thrive.”

Abraham Paulos, Deputy Director of Policy, Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), said, “Black people and Black immigrants showed up, whether eligible to vote or not, to support candidates who share a vision of unity and freedom and oppose the election of candidates who were harmful to Black and immigrant communities. Together we worked to usher in elected officials who support racial justice and migrant rights. Black migrant electoral power is reflected from the top to the bottom of the ticket, including the election of additional representatives at the federal, state and local level. The  numbers show it is only white America that is divided. Black and brown people in America are united in our values of human rights, decent livelihood, and against all forms of racism, bigotry and hatred.”

“This week is not just about one year or one election, we also see the big picture. The growing and spreading immigrant populations are shifting the political landscape and bringing about a political transformation,” said Rocio Saenz, Executive Vice President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

“Farm worker activists and leaders from across California, Arizona, Washington state, Oregon and Idaho travelled to Arizona and Nevada to go door to door getting out the Latino vote,” said United Farm Workers President Teresa Romero. “These are the very people who are suffering the most under Donald Trump’s bigoted, cruel and punishing immigration enforcement. The fight for genuine immigration reform was why farm workers were campaigning in Arizona and Nevada. Latino new-voter turnout in those two key swing states was historic and crucial to Joe Biden’s successes.”

Tomas Robles, Co-Director, Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), said, “
“The people directly impacted by policies should always be at the table, leading on the solutions that will affect their lives and their communities. In Arizona, Mark Kelly won because Latinx voters turned out and chose change; they chose unity over division and a future where we are at the table. We’ve invested in our community for a decade and it’s proving to be a winning strategy.”

Javier. H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road Action, said, “Our communities led a nationwide movement and today defeated Donald Trump. For four years we have endured racist and inhumane policies and rhetoric that crippled our nation. But we never stopped organizing–and together we mobilized millions of voters and voted Trump out of office. Our communities voted in record numbers for a better future that includes humane immigration reform, access to health care, affordable housing for all, COVID-19 recovery for all, and much more. We will now continue to organize to ensure this new administration delivers bold progressive policies for our communities who led them to this monumental victory.”

Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director, NILC Immigrant Justice Fund, said, “This is a victory for immigrants and their families, for justice, for our democracy, and an opportunity for our nation to finally deliver on its promise and ensure that all of us, no matter what we look like, how much money we have, or where we were born — have the opportunity to thrive. An overwhelming number of voters issued a rejection of Trump’s hateful and xenophobic rhetoric and policy agenda and sent a signal to all elected officials that immigrants are essential to the fabric of America. Together as a movement we’ve proven that a pro-immigrant message can be a winning message and we helped make clear that immigrants and immigrant families have value as political constituents. Democrats and Republicans at all levels of government should heed this call and embrace a bold and inclusive pro-immigrant vision for America.”