Monday, January 27, 2020

LULAC’s President in hot waters for letter endorsing Trump’s immigration plan

The leader of the oldest Latino civil rights organization in the U.S. said Wednesday he has “rescinded” a letter endorsing President Trump’s immigration framework that includes a border wall after receiving angry criticism from members and activists.

“It’s just bad timing because most people think this letter is endorsing what the president said about immigration at the State of the Union,” Rocha said. “It’s not. The letter was about conversations we had before. We can’t help it that the president changed his mind.”

Roger Rocha, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), said he wrote the letter at the request of the Trump administration while the group was in negotiations for an immigration reform compromise. In the letter Rocha wrote Trump this week, he said that the group would support his plan for a wall and immigration restrictions in exchange for protecting DREAMers.

The group’s endorsement of the border wall and restrictions on legal immigration drew strong reactions from members and activists across the country who say such policies would hurt Hispanics. On social media, group members and Latino activists attacked Rocha for the letter and criticized him for supporting a plan many called racist.

Many LULAC members said Rocha’s letter was not approved nor seen by the national board before it was released and they reiterated that the group is not turning its back on the immigrant community.

“Like everyone else, I’d like Congress to find a permanent solution for DACA students,” said LULAC member Ralph Arellanes of Albuquerque, referring to the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. “But the wall … that’s not the message you want to send.”

PBS NEWS