Immigration, Immigrant Communities and the 2016 Elections

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Eighteen politicians have already announced their intentions to become President of the United States. Over the next seventeen months, as the candidates pave their roads to the White House, we can be sure to hear a score of immigration-related topics and proposals--just as we have heard an often-convoluted ranting about immigration in the national news these past couple of weeks.

While many immigrants cannot vote, they can have a voice! The general election provides an important opportunity for organizing and movement-building, and we will be sharing resources and tools for engaging our immigrant communities. As we have in the past few national elections, NNIRR will roll out coverage of each candidate, their major proposals and remarks, and the overarching themes and positions of each party. We've already started updating our election section of the website, and encourage you to visit it regularly for election news and information.

The issue of immigration--both negatively and positively--is already surfacing in election news. Hillary Clinton, perceived by most to be the Democratic Party front-runner, has claimed she will go further than President Obama’s executive action to protect the undocumented from deportation. Never to be outdone, Republican candidate Donald Trump recently exclaimed, “When Mexico sends its people, their not sending their best. Their sending people that have lots of problems. And their bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists."

While Trump’s comments could not be further from the truth, his rantings have occupied space in the national media for days and his popularity ratings have risen among Republican voters, just as certain business connections have rushed to disengage any relationship with him and his many projects.

While NNIRR will not endorse any candidate, we will promote the kind of policies and positions that we believe a presidential candidate should support: an end to immigrant detention and deportations, a rollback of punitive border policies, and most importantly, access to legal status, human rights and protections. Through our website and social media platforms (Facebook | Twitter), we will present analysis and talking points, and provide a space for shared discussion and strategizing. In the coming months we will be providing information on the immigrant vote and civic participation.

We recognize that there is still tremendous work to be done; we are very much aware of the opportunity before us to raise awareness as the election season heats up--not an easy task when discussion over significant issues is typically conducted through media sound bites or through gross misrepresentations as we have already witnessed with the Trump debacle. Nonetheless, we will do our best to amplify our vision for just and humane immigration policies, lift up immigrant community interests and voices, and encourage the election of a president who will champion rights and justice for all, including immigrants and refugees.