While Trump didn’t follow his dictatorial instincts in his State of the Union speech to declare an “emergency” on the U.S.-Mexico border – yet – we know what the real emergency is: the thousands of children who have been ripped from their families. There are so many, in fact that the administration now says it may be impossible to ever reunite them, because they’ve lost track.
Even worse, Republican lawmakers cheered Trump on as he doubled down on cruel and illegal immigration rhetoric and policies that hurt children, mothers and families. It was striking that a full quarter of his guests had to do with immigration, including a Latino immigrant who is now an ICE agent. Trump and the GOP know he will never win a majority of the Latino vote – but they still want to get a large enough portion of that electorate to win.
It was other guests in the chamber, who came at the invitation of Democratic lawmakers, who demonstrate the cruelty of Trump’s immigration policies. Albertina Contreras Teletor and her young daughter Yakelin Garcia Contreras were guests of Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley. Yakelin and her Mom were separated for months as the direct result of Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy.
Tonight, Yakelin spent her 12th birthday watching Trump defend his decision to rip her family apart. We celebrate the families like Yakelin’s who have bravely chosen to speak out and organize on their own behalf and for thousands of other families like them.
The Trump administration’s record on immigration is clear: ripping children from the arms of their parents; jailing kids in cages; tear-gassing mothers and children; ignoring American and international laws that allow refugees to legally request protection in our country; and best-known of all, shutting down the entire federal government for 35 days in pursuit of Trump’s grand vanity project, a wall between nations as a monument to his hatred of immigrants.
Again and again, we see Trump’s playbook: use the false narratives of scarcity to play us off each other. We have a choice as justice-minded people: we can follow Trump’s lies and fear-mongering and point the finger at each other, or we can name the real enemy: racial capitalism and Wall Street.
People’s Action is organizing across race and place to bring people together, reweave the social and political fabric of our country and continue the fight for true immigrant justice.