LULAC Stops Anti-Immigrant Amendments with Community Action Alert
Posted on 04/25/2015 @ 12:45 AM
By: Luis Torres, LULAC National, Director of Policy and Legislation
Late Monday evening, news broke that a “deal” had been reached in the Senate that would pave the way for a vote on the long-stalled human trafficking bill (The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015) and the confirmation vote for Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. As a condition on moving forward with those two items, a group of extremist senators called for votes on several anti-immigrant amendments to be added to the anti-trafficking act.
Senators David Vitter (R-LA), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), and Thom Tillis (R-FL) spearheaded the push to pass amendments that would:
-Require unnecessary and excessive spending on indefinite detention of immigrants.
-Strip critical protections for refugee children from Latin America, making it easier to deport these innocent children who left their native country to escape violence, poverty, and drugs.
-Deny countless U.S.-born Latino children of immigrant parents their citizenship rights afforded to them under the U.S. Constitution.
The extreme anti-immigrant sentiments represented in the amendments are not viable solutions to fix our country’s broken immigration system and were a completely unacceptable demand of any potential “deal” reached with regards to the legislation and confirmation. LULAC National quickly took action, sending a letter urging the Senate to reject any anti-immigrant amendments should they make their way to the floor. Read the letter here.
As part of LULAC’s advocacy efforts to defeat these amendments, tweets and emails were sent out to all 100 Senators from LULAC National. Calls were also placed to key staff members for moderate Democratic and Republican senators who might be on the fence regarding these amendments, in the hope that they would oppose them. Finally, LULAC National issued an action alert to its thousands of e-members – urging them to contact their Senators and tell them that these amendments would not be an acceptable component of any deal brokered for a vote on the human trafficking bill or the confirmation of Loretta Lynch. Hundreds of people responded to the LULAC action alert in a matter of hours, sending emails to Senators from across the country expressing their opposition to the amendments.
Ten hours after mobilizing LULAC’s membership to take action, top Senate staffers notified LULAC National that all anti-immigrant amendments slated to be proposed to the human trafficking bill had been eliminated from the amendment list. Furthermore, on Thursday April 23, in a historic victory for civil rights, Loretta Lynch was confirmed as Attorney General of the United States, becoming the first black woman to hold the position and head the US Department of Justice. Both cases show just how powerful we can be when we take action and let our elected officials know what issues are important to us.
The fight isn’t over and these amendments are expected to return in the future. If anything, this shows the power of our voice and that when we all take action, our leaders take notice. LULAC National urges advocates to sign-up to be a LULAC e-member to receive our action alerts and help LULAC continue advocating on behalf of the Latino community.
To sign up to be an e-member, Click here.
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Luis Torres is the Director of Policy and Legislation for the League of United Latin American Citizens. Prior to LULAC, he served as Legislative Director for Congressman Silvestre Reyes, former-Chairman of the House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and was one of a handful of Latino Legislative Directors in the U.S. House of Representatives. Additionally, Torres also served as a high school teacher in Washington, D.C. as part of Teach for America. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Sociology from Georgetown University, and a Master of Arts in Teaching from American University.