Immigrants – and those who fight for them – are here to stay
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The election of Donald TrumpDonald TrumpMyPillow CEO to pull ads from Fox News Haaland, Native American leaders press for Indigenous land protections Simone Biles, Vince Lombardi and the courage to walk away MORE as president has brought genuine fear to immigrant New Yorkers. After all, he campaigned on mass deportation, defunding sanctuary cities, and stereotyping immigrants as “criminals” and “rapists.” And his transition, in which he has thus far named anti-immigrant zealots Steve Bannon and Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Democrat stalls Biden's border nominee Garland strikes down Trump-era immigration court rule, empowering judges to pause cases MORE (R-Ala.) to the posts of chief strategist and Attorney General, respectively, warns us that he expects to govern as he campaigned.

To be clear, Trump’s immigration plan is, at bottom, a plan to tear immigrant families apart. Immigrant communities are understandably scared right now. But Democrats in Congress and grassroots organizations will not let immigrant communities be devastated; we are here to stay.

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Trump has already signaled his intention to quickly tear apart millions of immigrant families. He will likely aim to do this by reversing President Obama’s executive actions to protect immigrant families and by passing new legislation and regulations to ramp up border and interior enforcement. This enforcement-only focus is precisely the wrong approach.

As Democrats, and many Republicans, have long argued, our outdated immigration system requires a multi-pronged approach that balances enforcement concerns with the recognition of the immigrant families (many of whom are mixed-status families with U.S. citizen children) that are already living here, as well as the critical role that immigrants play in our economy. Chief among our nation’s immigration priorities must be providing an earned path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the country.

But Trump has refused to accept this balanced approach, instead opting to scapegoat immigrants. We say this: He will not get away with it.

In Congress, as Trump tries to enact his agenda, Democrats and their leadership will push back against odious legislation and executive actions targeting immigrants. Even without control of Congress, they will be able to hold the administration accountable—in Congressional hearings and in the public square—for irresponsible governing.

Outside the halls of Congress, the immigrant rights movement will play a crucial role in pushing back against the Trump administration’s efforts to vilify and criminalize immigrants. Already in New York, Make the Road New York and its allies rallied 15,000 Latinos, immigrants, and allies in New York to send the message that immigrant communities are here to stay. In the months to come, large-scale protests will continue, as will efforts to lobby legislators on both sides of the aisle.

Front and center in these efforts will be immigrant families themselves—mothers, fathers, children, and grandparents sharing their stories and their dreams. Every day in communities like Jackson Heights, Queens, we see the economic and cultural richness of our phenomenally diverse communities. In our nation’s worst recent moments of anti-immigrant politics—such as when Arizona and other states attempted to enact unconstitutional laws to criminalize immigrants—these personal stories have made the difference in reminding Americans what we stand for: keeping families together and safeguarding opportunities for all.

The American people will not allow President-elect Trump to trample the rights of immigrants or anyone of any other color, race or creed. Democrats in Congress, working with community organizations around the country, will staunchly defend the needs and rights of immigrant families. And we will prevail.

Rep. Joseph Crowley is the Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus, who has just been re-elected to Congress to represent the 14th District in Queens and the Bronx. Javier H. Valdés is the co-executive director of Make the Road New York, the largest participatory immigrant-led organization in New York. Follow their work: @RepJoeCrowley @JavierHValdes @MaketheRoadNY


The views expressed by authors are their own and not the views of The Hill.