WASHINGTON – Unlike the Republican presidential debates where candidates have attacked, alienated, and criminalized immigrants and immigrant voters, the Democratic presidential candidates will have their chance to distinguish themselves and appeal to voters, including the tens of thousands of Latino, Asian, and immigrant voters – who make up the fastest growing segment of the US electorate, and who will be paying close attention Tuesday night.
Below are remarks from immigrant and Latino community leaders from Virginia, Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina:
Leni Gonzalez, Board Chair of the Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights:
“Immigrants who work, pay taxes, and have lived in Virginia for years are a vital part of American society and deserve a pathway to citizenship. We hope to see the presidential candidates debate a strong policy solution for how exactly they would achieve reform with a pathway to citizenship for those integral members of our community."
Carla Castedo, State Director of Mi Familia Vota, Colorado:
"Overall, the Democratic presidential candidates are saying the right things on issues that are important to Latinos: on the economy and the need for a minimum wage increase, on immigration, health care, and on down the line. However, saying the right things is not enough, we will hold candidates to their commitments to act if elected. The real questions that we need to ask are: How soon will they act? How far are they willing to go?"
Bertha Sanles, A leader with United Families, Florida:
“As a non-citizen I may not be able to vote, but I am just like every other American, hardworking, tax-paying mom who wants to know what the next President of the United States plans to do to improve schools for my kids and fix immigration reform so my family doesn't have to worry about us being separated. My question to the candidates: how would they make executive actions like DAPA a reality, especially in light of the lawsuit blocking its implementation? Are they willing to commit to do everything in their power to stop the deportation of people like me?”
Lacey Williams, Advocacy Director of the Latin American Coalition (North Carolina):
"We are looking for real solutions that will provide immediate relief to our community from day one. We need to know that our communities will be safe from arbitrary deportation while Congress hammers out a solution. We want to know who values our community, not just as a special interest voting block, but as a community that is helping make America great."
Christine Neumann-Ortiz, Executive Director of Voces de la Frontera (Wisconsin):
“I hope that the candidates will champion deferred action for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country, reject political contributions from private prisons that lead to mass incarceration and detention, and condemn hate speech in the debates that dehumanizes immigrant families.”
CONTACT: Kyle Tharp, (865)776-9645