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Alexandria, VA — Today, former Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada joined Jose Campos, President of the Salvadoran American Chamber of Commerce; Jose Gonzalez, union organizer at LiUNA; and Frank Sharry of America’s Voice, to condemn Trump’s racist comments about Salvadorans and others and to press for the enactment the Dream Act and a permanent solution for TPS recipients, with 200,000 Salvadorans representing the largest group of TPS holders.
According to J. Walter Tejada, founding President of the Virginia Latino Leaders Council & former Arlington County Board Chairman:
President Trump’s disgraceful comments last week insulting Salvadorans, Haitians and African immigrants reflect who he is. Instead of focusing on being Commander in Chief, he is showing us that he is the Racist in Chief, a divider instead of uniting us. We knew from the campaign trail that he was not fit to serve as president, and he is confirming that time and again. And, it is just as appalling that many Republicans are enabling and excusing him for his insults and erratic behavior. The hard-working Salvadoran community contributes to the wellbeing of our nation every day, creating and performing jobs that those who criticize the community will never do. Salvadorans and other immigrants, through their hard-work earnings, are essentially subsidizing retiring older Americans by paying into the Social Security and Medicaid system and taxes to localities who provide services to all their residents. As the third largest Latino community in our nation, the Salvadoran American community calls on President Trump and members of Congress to focus on approving a legislative fix for DACA/Dreamers and all TPS holders that includes a path to legalization, and stop insulting and diving our nation.
Jose Campos, President of the Salvadoran American Chamber of Commerce, said:
As business leaders we have the responsibility not just for our business but also for the lives of our fellow employees. Some of our employees have TPS, and this news is a matter that concerns all business owners as well. We as a Chamber of Commerce believe that Salvadoran people with TPS should be able to obtain legal permanent residency. These people have lived in this country for more than 17 years, have renewed their status 11 times every 18 months and have passed an extensive background check every time they renew. They have paid fees every time they renew and they pay taxes. TPS holders continue to be productive members of the American society.
Jose Gonzalez, Union Organizer at LiUNA, said:
We will not stand back as President Trump and his party attack our community. We will fight and make them understand our importance. As a member of LiUNA, I know firsthand how hard my Salvadoran colleagues work to build our nation – to build our roads, bridges, and buildings. After September 11th, we relied heavily on TPS-holders and immigrant builders to reconstruct our great nation. It’s no secret that this country was built and is rebuilt by immigrants. Now, we are marching shoulder to shoulder to rebuild our community and to make sure the President understands who we are and the value we carry.
Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, said:
This is a moment of truth. Democrats must stiffen their spines, stand up to the Republicans’ racism and bullying, and compel immediate action on immigration reform to protect Dreamers and TPS-recipients. We applaud Senators Kaine and Warner for their recent announcement that they will stand strong to compel Republicans to accept a bipartisan approach to immigration reform. Given the large, vibrant and dynamic Salvadoran and Latino community in Virginia, we expect all of our Virginia elected officials to stand up for what is right, to defend all Virginians, and to be true leaders.
Julio Laínez, Director of America’s Voice Virginia, said:
President Trump’s hurtful comments against Africans, Haitians, and Salvadorans prove for the umpteenth time that this administration wants to wage war against people that look different than they do. As a Salvadoran-American, and a Virginian, it hurts, but we must all come together as immigrants and like-minded progressives to fight for inclusivity and equality. The Salvadoran community will be watching who supports Dreamers and TPS holders. I echo Frank’s comments and applaud Senators Kaine and Warner for not supporting another CR which would kick the can down the road for Dreamers and TPS holders. What say you, Rep. Comstock? The 2018 midterm elections will be crucial for the commonwealth, just witness the 2017 elections and how they changed the face of the Virginia Assembly.