Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Bruna Sollod

With A Reckless White House Increasing Harm to Immigrants and Asylum Seekers, Progressive Groups Call On 2020 Candidates to Back New Immigration Platform

Washington, DC - Eight organizations from the immigrant justice and progressive movements announced its Free To Move, Free To Stay: A New Framework on Immigration for Progressives, setting a new standard for Democratic presidential candidates on immigration if they hope to appeal to immigrant, Latinx, and voters of color before the primary season officially begins.

There are daily reports of abuse, mistreatment, and even deaths of immigrants and children held in camps. After years of Trump’s family separation doctrine, kids kept in cages, sleeping on cold concrete floors with aluminum foil as blankets, progressive voters are disgusted by Trump’s racism and now demand a new president to stop the pain and lead the nation in a new direction — and they’re ready to help get that president elected.

The groups behind the new immigration platform are United We Dream Action, MoveOn, Center for Popular Democracy Action, Working Families, Sunrise, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Indivisible, and the Women’s March. Beginning this summer, these organizations are activating millions of their members to mobilize voters across the country. They will be meeting directly with the 25 presidential candidates, calling on them to back the Free To Move, Free To Stay platform, and urge them to explain how she/he will use their moral and executive authority to drive policymaking in a new direction that “helps people without hurting people.”

Below are remarks from leaders of the organizations and co-authors of Free To Move, Free To Stay platform:

Cristina Jimenez, Co-Founder and Executive Director of United We Dream Action:

“The current immigration system has failed for decades, and Donald Trump is only making it worse for millions of us. This powerful coalition of progressive members rejects the failed policies that tear apart and criminalize immigrant families. We are mobilizing voters to elect a new president who shares these same principles as us, someone we can trust to solve the horrific and terrorizing immigration system that’s hurting immigrants and asylum seekers. The next president must inspire us with a vision and policies that ensure immigrants and refugees are welcome in this country and have the opportunity to thrive. We will not settle for less.”

Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc: Jewish Action:

“For Jews, the experience of migration and exile is key to our history and our religious tradition. It’s time to change the question about immigration in this country from how cruel can our government be, to how compassionate? We are honored to join with other organizations to launch Free To Move, Free To Stay, an approach to immigration policy that elevates the voices of immigrant communities and demands from those seeking office new, creative approaches to building a more inclusive America where we are all safe and free.”

Rahna Epting, Chief of Program of MoveOn:

“MoveOn members are looking to see 2020 candidates provide concrete, bold, and inspiring solutions to create an America that welcomes immigrants and asylum seekers with dignity and respect. We’re proud to be a part of the Free to Move, Free to Stay vision with United We Dream Action and national allies to inspire candidates to help our communities, without increasing enforcement.”

María Urbina, National Political Director of the Indivisible Project:

“We need a nominee who will embrace the immigration conversation with a people-first vision. Indivisibles are looking for someone with a specific plan that will protect and support immigrants, and they're ready to do the work to elect the candidate who communicates that vision. We’re proud to unite with a powerful grassroots coalition behind the Free To Move, Free To Stay framework.”

Ana María Archila, Co-Executive Director of the Center for Popular Democracy:

"Immigrants are working people, community leaders, parents and neighbors. It's about time that we have a truly progressive vision of immigration policy that recognizes the contributions that immigrants make to our communities and to our country every single day. In the face of extreme attacks on immigrant communities from the Trump administration, we need candidates to stop the cruel and inhumane deportation approach used to criminalize and detain our families. Those who aspire to lead our country must present a vision of an inclusive society that supports the right of our communities to live and thrive. We cannot go back to the same old framework and expect to battle Trump’s racist agenda."

Varshini Prakash, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Sunrise:

“Young people are deeply concerned about both immigration and climate change because we see the inextricable connection between the two issues and how they affect people's lives. A full response to the climate crisis requires addressing the broken immigration system in this country — not with cages, walls, and deportations, but with open arms and a promise of the opportunity to thrive. The climate crisis is a test of our humanity. Our generation is looking for a President and a Congress who guarantees opportunity and safety for all by taking these issues seriously and understanding their intricate connection. We’ve helped to make the climate crisis a top political priority in this country and we are proud to mobilize our army of young people to fight boldly for this vision.”

Nelini Stamp, Director of Strategy and Partnerships of Working Families

“We need the people running to lead our country in 2020 to show bold leadership on immigration right here and now. We're in crisis. People are being locked up in cages. Families are dying on the border. Candidates who want support from progressives need to speak to the urgency of the moment and embrace a strong platform of decriminalization immediately. We can no longer wait.”  

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2020 presents an opportunity to mobilize voters and the nation around a new framework on immigration, one that is grounded in the shared vision of “helping people without hurting people.” Building off of the persistence and hard work of the immigrant justice movement and its allies, progressive candidates can now help push forward an agenda that lifts the voices and hopes of all immigrants to achieve justice for our communities.

Although the next president will inherit more detention camps and deportation agents than ever before, we know most Americans support citizenship, are appalled by the cruelty of detention camps, and oppose mass deportation. After these years of Trump’s runaway racism and decades of a deadly status quo built by both parties, progressive voters are now demanding a new president to stop the pain and lead the nation in a new direction.

The next president must use her/his moral and executive authority to drive policymaking in a direction based on the vision of “helping people without hurting people.” For decades, Washington has done the opposite. While new citizenship laws have been blocked in Congress, a bipartisan frenzy on increasing deportations and detention camps has led to ICE and CBP becoming the largest federal law enforcement agencies in the nation with little to no oversight.

It is time for political leaders to craft creative proposals that “help people without hurting people” at all levels of government, and in all facets of our lives from foreign policy to healthcare access, women’s, workers’, and LGBTQ+ rights, to education and creating a sustainable environment.
That’s why United We Dream Action, MoveOn, Center for Popular Democracy Action, Working Families, Sunrise, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Indivisible, and the Women’s March are announcing Free To Move, Free To Stay a new framework on immigration that calls to:

  • Welcome immigrants and guarantee them the opportunity to thrive
  • End the use of "comprehensive immigration reform" as a slogan
  • Protect immigrants from being hunted, incarcerated, and deported
  • Close Trump's detention camps and end mandatory detention
  • Stop criminalizing immigrants and end ICE and CBP's internal enforcement
  • Stop endless enforcement spending, especially as it continues to separate families

All presidential and 2020 candidates will be asked whether and how she/he will