Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Undocumented immigrants will release their Taxes if the Presidential candidates release theirs

A young supporter of immigrant rights. 

On Monday afternoon, I rode out Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, NY, to meet a group of undocumented immigrants with the Judson Immigration Task Force, members of the New Sanctuary Coalition of NY, who stood on the steps of the church to say that they are fed up of being castigated by politicians.  

Members of immigrant communities often work for minimum wage or less, sometimes two or three jobs.  At the same time, they are conscientious and careful to file their tax returns because they realize it is their civic responsibility.  They work to build and strengthen their communities, even in the face of potential deportation.  At the press conference, immigrant communities planned come forward to show their commitment to being part of our communities.   They hope to be recognized for these contributions to the local and national economies, while asking for transparency from all citizens, including presidential candidates. 
Police with machine guns lined the street outside Judson when I arrived.

My friend Ravi  Ragbi, of the Judson Immigrant Task Force, was there to introduce things.  “Trump has been calling immigrants many things, many hateful things. We want to stand and say we are unafraid.  We to contribute to the economy.  Our tax returns are in the billions.  We are ready to release them if Trump releases his.”
“If you cannot appreciate the contributions of immigrants in the United States, you are unfit to be president of the United States,” charged Reverend Micah Bucey, of Judson Memorial Church. “Since 1890, this church has supported the immigrant community.”

Juan Carlos Ruiz translated his words into Spanish. 

“After 9/11, rather than target those responsible, those in power have targeted immigrants. In the 15 years since 9/11, we’ve lived in fear, seeing our loved ones taken away…” explained Ravi  Ragbi. “Despite this, we’ve grown and contributed; we’ve worked and paid taxes.   Our kids have gone to school, even when they did not know when their parents would come home again. Over two billion to the Social Security trust fund that we knew we will not benefit from.” 

 “We are here to ask Mr Trump to release his taxes,” charged Liz Cortez.  “What is Trump waiting for?”

She concluded, “We will not be treated like criminals” 

The whole press conference applauded.  The US is a nation of immigrants.  It is important for all elected leaders and potential leaders to understood this, the group concluded. 

Already a backlash is brewing against the anti-immigrant rhetoric.  Recall in California after the anti-immigrant Prop 187 passed in 1994.  The policy signaled a significant political shift as immigrants got organized and pushed anti-immigrant politicians out of office.

“Longtime Latino advocate and founder of Los Amigos of Orange County reflected that “In the long run it [Prop. 187] did us a lot of good…it sparked an ignition, a fire, to do what we wanted to do but were not able to do.” Latino opposition to the ballot initiative galvanized activists, who launched citizenship drives across the state that led to greater political participation. There are 3.7 million Latino registered voters in California, an increase of more than 2 million since the mid-1990s, for example. And 1.7 million Asian and Pacific Islanders (API) are registered voters in California, an increase of 845,000 since the mid-1990s. Prop. 187’s harm to the Republican Party, especially among the growing Latino population in California, wasn’t immediate, but it was long lasting and has become known as the “Prop 187 Effect.”

 The same thing may be happening today. 

As Caroline Shepard explains. 

“I am sick to my stomach thinking about Trump's threat to send 100% of people living here illegally back. BACK?? Back where? We all know these people. They would be forced to leave their children and go to places they haven't been for years and years. There is often no place back. These aren't just the wrongly demonized South and Central Americans living here; these are people from all over the world trying to make a life for themselves. I am ashamed. Where would you be had Trump been President when your relatives came over? Have some empathy. Trump is a world wide embarrassment. And for those that are NOT voting, please remember that Adolf Hitler was democratically elected with only 30% of the vote.”

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