No law on this matter is just, unless it’s grounded in civil, human, and labor rights. Now, more than ever, we must stand up to bigotry, acts of cruelty and human rights violations fueled by racism. In an era of Trump, we cannot allow ourselves to be divided by anti-immigrant hatred and xenophobia.
To underscore my agreement with our state party’s platform, I believe we must establish an immigration policy that stops the criminalization of communities of color and keeps families together. It is a fact that over 85% of undocumented immigrants have resided in the U.S. for over 5 years. I supported our state’s decision to sue the Trump administration over its efforts to rescind the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). The decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was a victory for DREAMERS who otherwise would be in danger of deportations and allows them work permits. Without the ruling, the Dreamers would have no such protections under an administration given to racist policies.
Though we made significant strides by passing overtime pay for farmworkers, we still see the exploitative nature of temporary guest worker programs as employers routinely cheat workers out of wages, hold them captive by seizing documents, impose inhumane living conditions, and deny medical treatment for on-the-job injuries. These are just some of the appalling realities of many who provide so much for our communities. It is time to do what is morally right and bring these shameful injustices to end.
Regarding deportations, a January 2019 report by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services found that there were far more forced child separations at our Southern border than what had been previously reported.
The nation and world witnessed the astounding cruelty of Trump’s zero-tolerance policy as traumatized and crying children were ripped from the arms of their parents and then placed in internment camps. The report goes on to state that the total number of children who were separated will probably never be known, or if all of them can ever be reunited with their families. The thought of such a thing is unimaginable, but the nightmare is all too real. Though a federal judge ordered HHS to identify and reunite all separated children and to stop the separations in June 2018, the report notes an additional 118 children were separated from their families.
In addition to the inhumane policies at our Southern border, ICE’s deportation programs have unjustly turned local law enforcement into immigration enforcement officers. As it’s currently constituted, we must abolish ICE, demand the resignation of Secretary Nielson and call to account, anyone who was involved in the implementation of this cruel and morally repugnant policy.