A recording of the call can be found here.
Washington, DC — This morning, El Paso Democratic Congressperson Veronica Escobar, joined experts on anti-democracy movements, white nationalism, and anti-immigrant hate groups to discuss how political rhetoric and the long-term strategies of these groups to dramatically curtail access to asylum are aligning. While the press conference was scheduled before the mass killings in Buffalo over the weekend, the white nationalist themes of the shooter’s manifesto underscore how ‘replacement’ and ‘invasion’ are deeply connected to acts of violence. The anti-democracy goals of building political power and maintaining a white majority in the United States is driving a lot of political debate, nowhere more so than in the immigration space.
Vanessa Cárdenas, Deputy Director, America’s Voice (moderator), said, “I would like to recognize the tenuous moment we are in right now after the senseless murder of those in Buffalo, New York, and Laguna Woods, California. Our thoughts are with this community, and we are committed to holding accountable those who spread hate and fear. The anti-immigrant efforts we are seeing are being driven by a white nationalist movement that uses immigrants as scapegoats. They have normalized terminology such as ‘replacement’ theory, ‘open borders,’ and ‘invasion.’ These ideas are now being used in Republican ads all over the country. What was once rejected is now being advanced by mainstream politicians.”
Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-TX said, “It’s important to continue to sound the alarm. We can’t walk away from what is going on and not confront it. We must do all we can to erradicate the racism and xenophobia promoted by the current extremists in the Republican Party. Last week during a Judiciary Committee hearing over a bill to make immigration judges Article III judges, Republicans, instead of talking about the bill, used their time to spread xenophobic theories about the border. What happened in Buffalo happened in El Paso. Out of 450 political murders committed in the U.S., 75% have been by white supremacists. We know where that hate is coming from and we have to confront it. Republican leaders should be called out. They have hardly been held accountable for their words, so it is up to us.”
Lindsay Schubiner, Momentum Program Director, Western States Center said, “Racism, an obsession with demographics, and specifically with maintaining and expanding a white majority, has been a consistent part of the anti-immigrant movement. Attacks from Buffalo, to Pittsburgh, and El Paso are not an aberration, but are part of the white nationalist strategy, animated by antisemitic conspiracies, to build political power and undermine democracy through violence. These bigoted movements are predicated on an opposition to people of color gaining political power. Anti-immigrant policies and support for open bigotry help advance white nationalist goals of creating an all-white ethnostate within the United States. Today we see prominent elected officials from Congresswoman Elise Stefanik to Senator Ron Johnson openly promoting the bigoted and antisemitic replacement conspiracy theory without opposition from their party. We are in a critical moment for human rights and for our democracy. Whether elected officials act will tell us a lot about the future of a multiracial and representative democracy in the United States.”
Haddy Gassama, Esq., National Director of Policy and Advocacy, UndocuBlack Network said, “Had this call been done yesterday, I would not have been able to do it. Me and my colleagues were so gutted by the events over the weekend that many of us are still rightfully processing the attacks while still juxtaposing it with the daily reality of being Black in this country. Buffalo shows us that these anti-Black and anti-immigration theories are two sides of the same coin. White supremacy has always existed and is in many ways endemic to immigration policy in this country. Immigration has always been a Black issue. Often Caribbean, Afro-latinx and Indigenous populations are the victims of these attacks. If not now, then when is it time to act? Democrats who do not act, whether it is Title 42 or any other bill, can at time be just as harmful as the hateful xenophobic Republicans, because there are real lives at stake, usually Black ones. We have to uplift opportunities like TPS for people from majority Black and brown countries, like Haiti and Mauritania. When these racist and baseless political attacks come up, it is important for leaders to stand their ground and continue to defend immigrant communities and push for permanent protections for our people.”
Sarah M. Rich, Senior Supervising Attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project said, “In the 16 months since the January 6 insurrection, an empowered hard-right movement has worked feverishly to undermine democracy. Opposition to immigration is a cornerstone of this movement, and has acted as a rallying cry for them for years. Preserving democracy will require a sustained, creative, and widespread pushback against their rhetoric and their agenda.”