November 16, 2016 – Today Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County) released a statement in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s announcement of the appointment of Steve Bannon as his chief strategist.

“A national immigration policy staked in deporting millions of Latinos has a name, ethnic cleansing.  Six months ago I saw Trump for the xenophobe he truly is and introduced two resolutions condemning Trump’s racist and discriminatory immigration policies.  I took Trump seriously 180 days ago when I introduced these resolutions because I took his words at face value,” said Assemblymember Marc Levine.  “With Trump’s appointment of Steve Bannon he has moved with deliberate speed to implement an agenda of ethnic cleansing through deportation.  We must reject a propaganda minister inside the White House masterminding ethnic cleansing in America.”

The United Nations Commission of Experts, in a January 1993 report to the Security Council, defined “ethnic cleansing” as “rendering an area ethnically homogenous by using force or intimidation to remove persons of given groups from the area.”  Breitbart News supports white nationalism, a movement that opposes multiculturalism and believes in the supremacy of the white race.  Since Trump was elected, America has seen the confederate flag being displayed at Veteran’s Day celebrations, “whites only” signs being placed in schools, fake deportation notices handed to children, and swastikas painted on public buildings.

“Americans must demand that President-elect Trump immediately denounce policies of ethnic cleansing and instead embrace America as a compassionate nation that embraces diversity,” said Assemblymember Marc Levine.  “Many immigrants are Veterans who put their lives on the line to defend our great nation.  Many immigrants are children who have known no other home than America.  Blanket policies to deport immigrants are hateful and divisive.  We must call it what it is, ethnic cleansing.”

Angie Junck, Supervising Attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Lindsay Toczylowski, Executive Director at the Immigrant Defenders Law Center also called for California to continue to lead the way in protecting immigrants.

“California has led the way in our inclusion and integration of diverse immigrant communities, and we are without a doubt a more welcoming, more innovative and economically robust state for it,” said Angie Junck. “It is imperative that we set an example for the nation by continuing to champion and build upon our pro-immigrant policies, including those that protect immigrant victims of violence from persecution when seeking help, prevent the double punishment of immigrants with convictions, push back against the over criminalization of black immigrants and advocate against the banishment of immigrants who have served in our nation’s armed forces.”

“In the past week we have seen a disturbing rise in hate crimes around the country and the anti-immigrant political rhetoric has reached a fever pitch.  It is clear that immigrant rights are under attack and the time for California to take action is now,” said Lindsay Toczylowski. “As the federal government steps up enforcement efforts, California must take bold, public and substantial steps to protect all immigrants who live within our borders, particularly the most vulnerable among us.  It is imperative that we as Californians defend our immigrant communities from due process violations and other unconstitutional or inhumane actions.  The time is now for California to show the rest of the nation who we are and what values we hold dear:  inclusivity, diversity and justice for all.”

While Congress has failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform, Assemblymember Levine worked with his colleagues to better protect all residents of California.  Last year Assemblymember Levine worked with legislative leaders to craft the Immigrants Shape California package to protect hardworking undocumented immigrants from fraud, discrimination, lack of health care, and the unintended consequences of our criminal justice system. Assemblymember Levine authored two bills as part of the ten bill package, and both Levine bills were signed into law and took effect January 1, 2016.

AB 899 protects immigrant children by safeguarding their records from unauthorized disclosure to federal immigration officials that may result in a child’s deportation. As the author of AB 899, Assemblymember Levine also requested that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, when processing requests for immigration benefits, no longer request information contained within juvenile adjudication records.  AB 900 aligns California law with federal immigration law to allow young people in California to receive humanitarian relief through the Special Immigrant Juvenile Status Visa. As part of the efforts to provide protections to vulnerable immigrant youth who have been abused, abandoned, or neglected, Assemblymember Levine and legislative leaders successfully petitioned the Supreme Court of California to ensure that such youth are able to receive the benefit of a custodial guardian as intended by AB 900.

Following campaign rhetoric by Donald Trump to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, deport immigrants, and prohibit Muslim immigration altogether, Assemblymember Levine spoke out against these policies and condemned Trump’s discrimination.  He authored two resolutions calling for all people, regardless of ethnicity, race or religion, to be welcome in the United States.  AJR 40 urged Congress to speak out against and reject efforts to build a wall along the United States-Mexico border.  AJR 39 called on Congress to respect the First Amendment and the rights of Muslim-Americans and to speak out against and reject any efforts to pursue an immigration policy based on religion.