Texas Immigrant Advocates, Business Leaders Come Together to Call on Texas Politicians to Heed the Will of the People and Support Pro-Immigrant Policies
DALLAS - As the Biden administration signs another round of executive orders undoing some of the most controversial and harmful immigration policies implemented during the Trump administration, the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance (RITA) and its allies are increasing pressure on Texas legislators and lawmakers to follow suit and support inclusive, pro-immigrant policies during the 87th Texas Legislative Session, or risk alienating their constituents in the lead-up to the 2022 midterm elections.
“Although Texas society is made up of diverse communities with rich histories, all key contributors to our state, Texas still remains the hub of anti-immigrant sentiment when it comes to leadership,” said Adriana Cadena, statewide coordinator of RITA. “Today, President Biden signed executive orders to repeal the horrific Migrant Protection Protocols that kept thousands of families from seeking asylum; pledged to increase the annual refugee admission levels to 125,000; initiated the creation of a task force to reunite migrant children with their parents; and reversed the racist and classist ‘public charge’ rule implemented by the Trump administration. Meanwhile, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton continued to double-down on anti-immigrant policies by blocking President Biden’s moratorium on deportations, further showing him to be out of touch with the current moment and the people he feigns to represent. Texans deserve and demand better.”
“We are diverse, strong communities that extend a warm welcome and a helping hand to our family and neighbors to the south. We defend asylum because we know that the ability to move safely and with dignity is a human right that makes our communities stronger,” said Juanita Valdez-Cox, executive director of La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE). “The ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy is a dangerous and cruel policy that the Biden-Harris administration has yet to end fully. The families stuck in limbo in Mexico separated from the safety of their loved ones in the U.S. are counting on us to act. We are calling on the new administration to allow them to come in and pursue asylum safely and freely within the U.S..”
Last month, RITA and its partners including MALC, Every Texan, MALDEF, Texas Business Immigration Coalition (TBIC), Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR), LUPE, ARISE Adelante, FWD.us, and ACLU of Texas, outlined their legislative priorities for this year’s state legislative session in a live discussion streamed via Facebook. Among the priorities are: repealing SB4, the Texas state law which forces local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities; ending the exclusion of immigrants from Medicaid coverage; and expanding access to driver’s license permits to include immigrants that lack the necessary documentation for a Texas Driver’s License.
The group of advocates emphasizes not only the moral imperative to champion pro-immigrant policies at the state and federal level, but also the economic imperative, especially as local businesses and economies struggle to rebuild following the devastation incurred during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
"The reality is that there is no viable work visa program available for immigrants and refugees. The H-2B and guest worker programs are woefully inadequate to meet the needs of restaurants, hotels, landscape companies, farms, homes, hospitals, construction companies - all of which are understaffed and looking for qualified applicants. Texas needs sensible federal policies that simultaneously help our local businesses and welcome the contributions of immigrants,” said Jim Baron, CEO of Mesa SW Management LP - Dallas, and TBIC board member.
“As Texans, we are proud of our long history of welcoming refugees and immigrants. It is through their contributions that we have been able to grow and thrive together as a community. However, even as the federal government works to restore these values under the new Biden administration, our state’s leadership continues to be morally corrupt through the propagation of xenophobic and racist rhetoric and policies. Texas Governor Abbott, Attorney General Paxton, and the like must do their jobs as our representatives in government and carry out the will of Texans,” said Faizan Syed, executive director of CAIR-Texas DFW.
As the leading grassroots statewide alliance of immigrant organizations, RITA works with allies in the business, religious, and law enforcement sectors toward immigration reform and to foster an inclusive environment in Texas. Learn more on the FITA Facebook page @RITATexas.