LOS ANGELES, CA, Jan. 14, 2017 – In what may be the dawn of an energized, coordinated, and focused fight for immigrant rights, nearly a thousand people gathered downtown Los Angeles Saturday, January 14, as part of a national campaign to kick off a coordinated defense of immigrant families and workers from criminalization, mass deportation, and hate. The more than 45 “HERE TO STAY – California, Fearless, United” events across the U.S. represent a community-led, coordinated effort by many organizations and coalitions to send a clear message to the incoming Trump Administration that it better think twice before engaging in a planned crackdown on immigrant families.
“Trump will try to deport our co-workers, our friends, and our family members. But, we will stand in front of our Sisters and Brothers to stop him and ensure every immigrant has an attorney to defend their rights,” said Rusty Hicks, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.
Donald Trump, the campaigner, uttered innumerable insults towards many communities, including immigrants, for months and months leading to his nomination as the GOP presidential candidate. At one point, Trump described all Mexicans as “bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” President-elect Trump appears to not have changed his perspective on immigration since getting elected and has in fact nominated some of the most anti-immigrant elements in the nation to lead key agencies, including the Justice and Homeland Security Departments.
“We defy President-Elect Trump to upend all expectations, make history, and act compassionately and humanely to bring immigration laws into the 21st century. If, to the contrary, the Trump Administration moves forward with the planned persecution of our loved ones, we will step up our fierce effort to challenge and defeat any and all anti-immigrant policies. We are a great nation because of immigrants and there’s no turning back the clock. We will only move forward and no president and no party will get away with hurting millions of us without paying a hefty price,” stated Angelica Salas, CHIRLA executive director.
In preparation of what may be a harbinger of things to come for immigrants nation-wide, states like California have moved swiftly to educate, protect, and defend immigrant families and the integration systems set in place. Nearly a dozen elected officials, including Congress Representatives, state-wide office holders, Assembly members, County and city officials joined the Los Angeles rally to express their commitment to defend and protect immigrant families and workers.
“California will protect the Dream that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once had, by ensuring that our immigrant community does not have to continue to live in the shadows only because they lack a piece of paper required by this country. Let us be reminded that a patriot is not defined by color, race, or status, but by the love for the country they call home. California will continue to rise to the occasion to make sure that the Dreamers of yesterday, the Dreamers of today, and the Dreamers of tomorrow are safe and can live with the dignity and respect they deserve” said Laphonza Butler, President of SEIU State Council and Local 2015.
“California is home to more than 10 million immigrants who feel threatened by Donald Trump’s dangerous promises of mass deportations, Muslim registries, and border walls. We all must stand with the immigrant community to protect the rights and freedoms of every American,” said NextGen Climate President Tom Steyer, a supporter of the Los Angeles action.
Of course the impact of a crackdown on immigrant families, in addition to the human crisis, will cost taxpayers millions and signify a huge loss to the American economy.
David Huerta, who represents more than 35,000 service workers as president of SEIU United Service Workers West, calls for a “mobilized resistance” as inauguration day draws near.
“The Trump administration tapped Senator Sessions as their Attorney General- an anti-immigration senator once deemed too racist to serve as a judge for the US District Court. This administration has selected Andrew Puzder, a man who has enriched himself on the backs of fast food employees making poverty wages, an opponent of paid sick leave, minimum wage increases and the Affordable Care Act, as Labor Secretary. The power wielded by the few- billionaire corporate interests- threatens the social progress this country has made through protest and struggle. Together we will stand up and fight back, to protect our families, our communities, and our civil rights.”