In Courts, Congress, Campaign Trail, and in North Carolina, Republicans Showing Outright Disdain for the Rights and Aspirations of Immigrants
Washington, DC – Across the nation, the Republican Party is engaged in a relentless assault against the rights, protections and aspirations of immigrants.
On the Republican campaign trail, frontrunner Donald Trump is running the most explicitly nativist and anti-immigrant campaign that we’ve witnessed in modern U.S. history. On Capitol Hill, Republicans have moved from blocking immigration reform last Congress to now advancing virulently anti-immigrant legislation that taints all immigrants as criminals. In the courts, the Republican strategy is to slow-walk the legal challenge to the Obama Administration’s deferred action policies, which threatens to keep millions of immigrants in limbo past President Obama’s time in office. Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled state legislature in North Carolina seems intent on mimicking Arizona and sending a message to the world they are hostile to immigrants. Recently passed anti-immigrant legislation is on the Republican Governor Pat McCrory’s desk and all indications are that he will follow in the ignoble steps of Jan Brewer and hurt his state in order to placate the hard right.
In the face of this relentless assault, immigrants and their allies are standing up and fighting back.
In North Carolina, the Charlotte Observer highlights a fast that immigrants and their allies are engaged in to draw attention to the bill, which the legislature passed and Republican Gov. McCrory has yet to sign. The Observer piece quotes Tim Eakins of United We Dream saying, “It is just really a mean-spirited bill … This would very much encourage police officers to question people who look undocumented. What we’ve seen in this state and other states – this would be an invitation to racial profiling.” The story also quotes DACA recipient and faster Jessica Contreras, who notes, “After giving much of our lives here, we’re now in a way being kicked out when all we want is an opportunity to be here.”
Meanwhile, an immigrant-led fast just started in New Orleans outside the 5th Circuit due to delays that strongly suggest the court is slow-walking the case to make sure it won’t reach the Supreme Court before Obama’s term ends. Continuing the drum beat of stories from the New York Times, the Los Angeles Timeseditorial board, MSBNC.com, and the Texas Tribune, today’s the Houston Chronicle highlights the fast:
“Wednesday, immigrant advocates launched a nine-day fast and vigil in front of the federal courthouse in New Orleans and across the country to demand judges rule on the case.
“‘Every day the 5th Circuit Court delays its decision, it is making a political choice,’ said Sulma Arias, a spokeswoman for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, a national coalition of grassroots organizations advocating for immigrant rights. ‘There is no reason to sit on this decision.’”
The story also quotes Carolina Ramirez of United We Dream saying:
“It’s an urgency we feel … We know this is something politically motivated … we want to make sure we hold people accountable.”
The Washington Post’s Pam Constable also highlights the fasters in New Orleans, concluding her piece by sharing the motivations of one faster:
“Alan Gomez, 45, an immigrant from Nicaragua who remodels homes in Maryland, joined the fast as a volunteer for CASA of Maryland, an immigrant advocate group. He said that although he has been able to obtain legal status, he was protesting for the sake of others.
“‘I have cousins and uncles and friends who are illegal,’ he said, ‘and I am doing this for them and everyone else in that situation.’”
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice, “In 2013, when the House of Representatives blocked a vote on immigration reform despite the presence of a majority in the chamber for it, many Republicans said that there was still time before the 2016 election to soften the party’s tone regarding Latinos and immigrants as well as move forward on immigration reform. Yeah, right. The GOP’s presidential frontrunner promises to expel 25% of the nation’s Latino population; the Republican lawsuit is preventing some 5 million immigrants from getting work permits and living without fear of deportation; and the Republican legislature and governor in North Carolina are about to cause incalculable damage to the state’s reputation. Where are the leaders in the party that are standing up to this spasm of xenophobia? Besides Lindsey Graham and a few brave thought leaders, they are mostly silent. And this silence is as deafening as it is defining.”