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Rep. Filemon Vela, Border Advocates & Immigration Experts Respond to Trump’s Visit to McAllen, TX

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A recording of the call is available here.

Earlier today, border advocates and immigration experts gathered to discuss President Trump’s relentless rally for an unpopular and unnecessary border wall. Trump’s visit to McAllen, Texas today after pleading with the American public for wall funding on Tuesday night is just another tactic in his war on immigrants. The wall will ultimately hurt border communities and lead to further suffering for those at the border.

Congressman Filemon Vela (TX-34) said, “Democrats have provided very sensible solutions to the ongoing shutdown. The border wall makes no sense for our communities. The president is fixated on a senseless border wall fight when we could be allocating these funds to actual crises in our nation like the opioid crisis. When we look at the country conditions in Central America, it’s obvious that this is a humanitarian issue that runs much deeper than just a border wall.”

Juanita Valdez-Cox, Executive Director at La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE), said, “There is no crisis on the border except the one created by the president and his divisive policies. If we are truly talking about security, border communities need the security of well-paying jobs, quality education, robust healthcare, and dignified housing and neighborhoods. Demand $5 billion for that and border communities will welcome your arrival. Revitalizing our communities will bring stability to the lives of countless border residents. Demand a wall and more border militarization and we’ll tell you to keep your hateful, divisive politics out of our communities.”

Efren Olivares, Racial & Economic Justice Legal Director with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said, “In the last three days, we have seen nothing but theatrics from this president and national leaders who fly down to our community two or three times a year for a photo-op and then go back to Washington D.C. The border is not a war zone where military enforcement takes precedence over the rights enshrined in the Constitution. The border is a vibrant, bicultural and bilingual community that shares close historical ties with Mexico and its people. No President, no policy coming down from Washington, and certainly no border wall will ever change that.  We will continue to defend border communities and those seeking their legal right to asylum as long as these attacks continue.”

Astrid Dominguez, Director at the ACLU Border Rights Center said, “The only border crisis is the one created by President Trump for political gain at the expense of the rights and the lives of migrants who have the right to seek asylum at the U.S. border. Additional barrier construction would devastate our homes and environment, result in massive land seizures by the federal government, and stand irreparably as a monument to hate and xenophobia. Trump’s repeated lies portraying the border as dangerous are racist and echo the rhetoric of white supremacy, not facts. Congress, including border state Senators, must act consistently with good governance and public opinion and continue rejecting Trump’s wall extortion.”

Tania Chavez of the La Union del Pueblo Entero (LUPE) said, “Trump is right that there is a humanitarian crisis at the border. However, he forgot to mention that this is a humanitarian crisis that he started. He separated parents from their children. Through his hateful rhetoric, he has chosen to highlight the criminal acts performed by immigrants, but he forgot to mention the over 1.5 million Dreamers who have graduated high school, and many of them have graduated college. We are determined to end the suffering of immigrants along the border and the suffering of families that he has separated. He is not welcomed at Rio Grande Valley, and we do not need a wall. We want to love people on all sides of the wall. We are a vibrant community of of love. That’s why when Trump arrived we told him that he is not welcomed here, and that this Valley will stand with immigrants and refugees.”