Sharing their Humanity in the Face of Trump’s Hatred: IDP and IJN Partners Bring Criminalized Immigrant Leaders to Congress Post-Election
It has been an intense couple of weeks. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to resign. While it’s clear that this resignation was forced for suspect anti-democratic purposes, we will certainly not miss the most anti-immigrant AG in recent history.
In addition, we saw a slate of midterm candidates across the country run with some of the worst immigrant hate-mongering tactics of the Trump administration, only to be amplified at the national level by the President. At the same time, there was a groundswell of activism and progressive candidates grounding their campaigns in values of dignity and human rights for all. For the most part, the former failed while the latter triumphed.
A few highlights:
· A Democratic House can hopefully check some of the worst policies criminalization and deportation policies pushed by Trump and Congressional Republicans. Newly-elected Congresspeople represent the most diverse incoming class ever elected, including those who immigrated from or were born to immigrants from Lebanon, India, Japan, Mexico, Ireland, Eritrea, Italy, Samoa, Cuba, Korea, Palestine, Somalia and many other places around the world.
· In New York, Democrats flipped the State Senate and now have a large margin after a significant turnout in communities of color in races where opponents often used a nasty, anti-immigrant playbook. Many progressive policies IDP has worked on for years have been held up in the Senate, so this exciting change can mean real possibility for passage for bills like the Protect Our Courts Act, One Day to Protect New Yorkers, the Liberty Act, and many others. In addition to NY, 5 other states now are controlled by Democrats. IDP is working with these states to promote similar bills.
· Democrats picked up 8 Governor’s seats, expanding the possibility for the success of our Immigrant Clemency Project.
· Notorious architect of anti-immigrant policies, Kris Kobach, lost his race for Governor of Kansas. · Barbara Comstock and Dave Brat, who each made anti-immigrant fear-mongering and hard-line immigration policies central to their races, lost their House races.
· The anti-sanctuary ballot initiative in Oregon lost by a huge margin.
· Candidates who had well-funded anti-immigrant attack ads run against them won their races, including Sharice Davids (KS-03), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), Antonio Delgado (NY-19), Anthony Brindisi (NY-22), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), and Cindy Axne (IA-03).
Even with some of these victories, there is still much work to be done to educate Members of Congress on how our immigration laws criminalize immigrants and harm families and communities, especially in the face of an Administration perversely invested in turning the power of a deeply flawed criminal justice system against immigrants. That is why IDP and our partners in the Immigrant Justice Network (ILRC and NIPNLG) brought directly impacted immigrant leaders to speak to Members of Congress last week for our Immigrants Speak Out: Day of Resistance Against Criminalization and Anti-immigrant Bills on Capitol Hill. The congressional briefing and visits brought together those who are most impacted by harsh immigration policies to speak to members of Congress, share their experiences, ask legislators to resist and
repeal anti-immigrant laws that criminalize communities, and share solutions that will make a difference.
Ahead of the December 7th appropriations deadline, the briefing addressed pending
anti-immigrant bills, including the McCarthy bill, which would allocate $25 billion in taxpayer money to expand the border wall. These bills would drastically increase unlawful entry and
reentry prosecutions, penalize jurisdictions across the country for
implementing sanctuary policies and expand grounds of deportation–further devastating immigrant communities.
For more on the people who shared their stories and vision, click here.
They, and others were accompanied, by IDP and our IJN partners. We all plan to work with Members of Congress to fight back against harsh proposed bills and towards an agenda that upholds justice and human rights for all.