For Immediate Release
Michael Earls (202) 494-8555
Without a Washington Fix, Immigration Debate Spirals in Dangerous Direction
Latinos Feel Under Siege, Utah’s Immigrant Hit List Shows Why
WASHINGTON - New polling of Latino voters under siege, along
with news of a "hit list" with the names of Latinos, accused of being
undocumented by anonymous anti-immigrant sources in Utah, show that the
immigration debate continues to spiral in a dangerous direction and the
federal government must intervene.
Said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of
America's Voice, "Washington needs to step up and fix the broken
immigration system soon, so that rogue elements and irresponsible
politicians cannot continue to drive the debate with witch hunts and
demagoguery. The Obama Administration took the important first step to
challenge Arizona's anti-Latino immigration law, but much more needs to
be done to stand up to vigilantism and hate that tramples on civil
rights and community safety."
of Latino voters conducted by LatinoMetrics for the Hispanic Federation
and League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), shows that
immigration is now tied with the economy as the most important issue to
Latinos, a dramatic surge fueled by fallout over the Arizona "papers,
please" anti-immigration law. Additionally, both U.S. born and
foreign-born Latino citizens are massively in favor of a comprehensive
fix to the immigration system and motivated to vote this election
cycle. As Brent Wilkes, LULAC's Executive Director said in a
statement about his organization's polling, "The fact that immigration
reform is now a higher priority for Latinos than the economy and
education demonstrates that Latinos have taken offense to the way
immigrants have been demonized by politicians and political interest
groups and are prepared to vote accordingly."
Finally, and most disturbingly, the poll shows
that Arizona's SB1070 law has already had a real impact on Latinos'
level of comfort with law enforcement. Polling of Latinos conducted for
the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials
(NALEO) Educational Fund and to be released next week finds that,
"Latinos are feeling less optimistic and more under siege," according
to Arturo Vargas, NALEO's Executive Director.
This widespread sentiment among Latinos seems
justified in light of disturbing news from Utah. The Orwellian-named
Concerned Citizens of the United States released a list
to media outlets and law enforcement agencies naming 1,300 Latino Utah
residents they accuse of being "illegal immigrants," and said they would be "listening and
watching" to make sure those individuals on the list are deported. As
the New York Times recapped, "each entry contains details about
the individuals listed - from their address and telephone number to
their date of birth and, in the case of pregnant women, their due
dates," and the group "urged immediate deportation proceedings against
the people listed, as well as publication of their names by the news
media." No wonder Latinos feel under siege-they are.
Meanwhile, proving that nothing sells in a
Republican primary these days like red meat on illegal immigration, nine
state Attorneys General - each of them Republican - signed onto an amicus
brief supporting Arizona's SB1070 immigration law. The brief
was organized by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, who is running for
the Republican gubernatorial primary in a crowded field of five.
According to Sharry, "The Republican embrace of
Arizona's immigration law, the escalating tactics of anti-immigrant
groups, and the failure of Washington to enact comprehensive immigration
reform has fed a climate that is getting increasingly ugly and
dangerous. Until responsible leaders grab the wheel and steer this
debate towards a workable solution, irresponsible actors will continue
recklessly drive the nation into a ditch."
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