Sunday, September 15, 2019

Comentarios from Maria: Democrats Come to the Aid of Latino Community

maria

Last week, in what can only be classified as a big victory for our community, congressional Democrats were able to kill a bill that would have cut federal funds to cities that refuse to comply with federal immigration laws, even the most draconian among them. Known as “sanctuary cities,” these cities, with the purpose of creating connections with migrant communities, refuse to report immigration status so that local authorities can better serve the community and be able to more fully comply with the obligations of their job. To do so, there must be trust and cooperation between police and the community in which they serve.

With this proposal, Republicans, including Cuban-American presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, are willing to make the work of the authorities even more difficult than it already is – and doing so based on a xenophobic theory that has no place in our society.

The only goal of this type of politics is to intimidate and instill fear. Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said “tragedies should not be used to scapegoat immigrants,” referring to the case of a criminal who had already been deported and sadly ended the life of another person. The Senator also clarified that immigrants “should not be used to erode trust between law enforcement and our communities.  We cannot let fear drive our policymaking.  Let us actively and collectively resist the demagoguery that threatens to shape American policymaking for the worst.” Very well said.

We live in a time when politics seek to divide as at every corner. Proposals and legislation like these, which are very popular within the Republican Party, seek to impose local authorities to do the work of the federal government, but President Obama already warned he would use his veto power if certain bills landed on his desk. In a statement, the White House clarified that “the most effective way to enhance public safety is through sensible and effective policies that focus enforcement resources on the most significant public safety threats (…).The bill would also jeopardize the ability of State and local governments to receive Federal funding that is critical to their efforts to ensure public safety and to tackle serious problems facing their communities,” and they are correct.

With few resources, we need to concentrate our efforts on strategies that do not separate our families, strategies that make our communities a safe places to live in cooperation with local authorities. Senator Harry Reid was right in saying “Like the disgusting and outrageous language championed by Donald Trump, this legislation paints all immigrants as ‘criminals and rapists,’” and enough of our community is already painted in this light.

As the presidential election season progresses, we need to continue raising our voices for the principles of our community. We must not allow ourselves to be demonized; to the contrary, we must emphasize all of the positive contributions afforded by the Latino community, and let Republicans know that without our vote, they will never see the inside of the White House.