Image courtesy of North Oakland Indivisible Team.
It is no coincidence that just hours after 51 Senators left Trump’s latest hope at repealing the ACA dead on the Senate floor, the president directed his motorcade to an auditorium in Long Island to change the topic to one of his favorites: demonizing immigrants. Trump thinks that by running from one of his disastrous policy priorities to another, he can take shelter from your constituent pressure. That is why, this recess, it will be crucial to exert the power that helped stop TrumpCare to also protect immigrants from Trump’s cruel agenda.
Immigration is the issue where political gain springs eternal for Donald Trump—among all the wrong groups—and arguably the one that launched his political career. Not far from where he stood that morning in Long Island, Trump had, just over a year before, walked down a Trump Tower golden escalator to announce his candidacy for president by calling entire groups of immigrants murderers and rapists.
Now, 200 days into his presidency, with the main pillars of his agenda crumbling under constituent pushback in Congress, Trump is turning back to his old anti-immigrant routine in search of any popularity he can still wring out of his loyalist base. The further local pressure has chased Trump’s ideas out of the mainstream halls of policymaking, the further he has had run to the fringes of the right wing to find anyone who may still be excited about this presidency—even if that means adopting the language of nativists and white supremacists.
Flanked by cheering law enforcement officers in Long Island that July morning, while most resistance groups were still celebrating the most recent death of the zombie TrumpCare bill, Trump joked about police brutality and urged the badge-wielding crowd to aid his federal deportation force and be “rough” on the “animals” they detain. It was as sad a spectacle as it was unsurprising.
But unlike his first xenophobic speech at Trump Tower in 2016, which was aimed at network news and Republican primary voters, this latest headline-grabbing barrage against immigrants had a new audience: Congress. As much damage as Trump is able to do with executive branch agencies, his administration knows that the full realization of their anti-immigrant agenda can only come about with the aid of our representatives and senators.
That’s where you come in. The elected officials your state and district sends to DC are more tuned in to your constituent voice than Trump’s worldview. If you and your neighbors apply that power towards protecting immigrants, Congress will have to listen. That is why August recess town halls and actions back home are the best avenue to truly push back on Trump’s Long Island speech—and his entire hateful anti-immigrant agenda.
In 2017, it is not enough to fight words with words. Ultimately, it’s policy decisions and votes in Congress that will determine if Trump’s hatred for immigrants is codified into law. Trump’s immigration proposals are extreme enough that they already walk narrow paths through Congress. Enough constituent pressure can shut them out completely.
This recess, help your elected officials understand all the ways they can stand with our immigrant friends and neighbors, starting with these five priorities:
- Defund Trump’s Mass Deportation Machine. Both chambers of Congress are considering Trump’s request for billions of dollars to fund the walls, boots, and detention beds that fuel his deportation machine. Your member of Congress (MoC) should vote to #DefundHate at every stage of the appropriations process this fall.
- Stop the criminalization and mass incarceration of immigrants. Trump’s nativist friends in Congress are still using the tragic death of Kate Steinle to justify their agenda to criminalize all immigrants and pump more of your tax dollars into private prisons. “Kate’s law” (H.R. 3004) has passed the House—now your Senators need to make sure this harmful proposal fails like it has in years past.
- Safeguard sanctuary cities, the last line of defense against Trump. The House passed a bill that would penalize your local law enforcement agencies for not doing the bidding of Trump’s federal deportation force. Now it’s up to the Senate to make sure that H.R. 3003 or any bill that punishes sanctuary cities never goes to Trump’s desk to become law.
- Protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The DACA program protects immigrants who came to the US as children, often called “DREAMers,” but is now under threat from Trump’s White House. Congress needs to act immediately to secure the futures of the “DREAMers” who were raised here in the US and could face deportation. Tell your MoCs to co-sponsor S. 1615 in the Senate or H.R. 3591 in the House.
- Tell Congress to halt Trump’s Muslim ban. Ending Trump’s Muslim ban isn’t just up to the courts—Congress can and should take legislative action against Trump’s discriminatory orders with H.R. 1503, S. 608, and S. 549.
Trump is relying on a vocal minority of loyalist lawmakers to move forward his xenophobic agenda. If the vocal majority of us who stand with immigrants stand Indivisible and make our voices heard in Congress, it will fail.
For the latest resources on resisting Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda, visit http://standup.indivisibleguide.com/