President Trump, immigrants are not 'bad dudes'

In 2016, Solidarity Strategies helped elect 3 formerly undocumented immigrants to public office: Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), and Jose Moreno of the Anaheim City Council. All three became U.S. citizens under President Ronald Reagan’s amnesty program in 1986.

These outstanding men represent the real American Dream and are examples of what can happen when immigrants are given an opportunity to become a part of our society without any limitations. But despite their examples of success and leadership, our country continues to demonize immigrants and refugees.

I am the president of Solidarity Strategies, a small business in Washington, DC and I’m proud to say all of my employees are either immigrants or children of immigrants. Our staff has included everyone from DACA recipients to refugees.

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Despite differences in country of origin, these young professionals share many common experiences. They have all been educated in our colleges and universities, pay their taxes and contribute to the country’s economy, and work incredibly hard each and every day. They might even run for office someday. Despite what President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems flip Wisconsin state Senate seat Sessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants GOP rep: 'Sheet metal and garbage' everywhere in Haiti MORE and his supporters may say, the vast majority of all immigrants in this country are just like my employees.

 

In the first few weeks of his administration, President Trump cracked down on immigrants and began deportations at an alarming rate. With the entire world watching, our government is targeting individuals, tearing families apart, and destroying the values on which this country was founded. 

From the very first day of his campaign, Donald Trump labeled all immigrants as violent criminals despite having no data or evidence to support that statement.

Earlier today, we heard President Donald Trump claim that the removal of undocumented immigrants is a necessary military operation aimed to deport “bad dudes” like gang members and drug lords. 

We know this is not the case. Yesterday, an undocumented Salvadoran woman diagnosed with a brain tumor while in ICE custody is still being held in a detention center in Fort Worth, Texas.

A Mexican mother in Arizona who had lived in the U.S. for over two decades was deported earlier this month, despite having no ties to “gangs and drug lords.”

Unfortunately, these women are not the only non-criminals being targeted mercilessly by ICE and the Trump administration. I believe that immigrants who commit violent crimes should face consequences just like any other person in this country should, but I absolutely reject the generalization that has been made about all immigrants.

In fact, immigrants commit crimes at a much lower rate than the average American. You’d never guess that if you listened to the Republican party’s talking points.

The President’s executive actions and the Republican Party’s policies are more than pieces of paper or news segments on TV.

They are real, heartbreaking, and life-changing events targeting the immigrant community. In the U.S., 67 percent of Latinos personally know someone who is undocumented.

There is an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country and we should be finding solutions rather than resorting to deportation. The system is broken and Congress does not have courage to fix it. These actions will have serious consequences for the GOP in the 2018 midterm elections.

The demonization of immigrants and refugees is nothing new in our country. Every generation has faced this challenge with a new group of people believed to be dangerous to American culture and society.

For the sake of our country, we must overcome fear and hate. It is our duty as Americans to speak out against the dangerous generalizations made about immigrants and refugees, the destruction of families and entire communities, and mass deportations ordered by President Trump and executed by ICE.

The United States must continue to be the place of opportunity for all, no matter where they come from, that language they speak, who they love, or what religion they practice.

Chuck Rocha is the president of Solidarity Strategies, a Latino-owned political consulting firm, which worked closely with Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersMellman: On Political Authenticity (Part 2) Former Sanders campaign manager: Don't expect email list to be shared with DNC Adult film star: Trump and Stormy Daniels invited me to 'hang out' MORE (D-VT) in his presidential bid. Follow Rocha on Twitter @ChuckRocha


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