Respect and Dignity: Make the Road New York, Make the Road Action Fund

Make the Road Action Congratulates Senator-Elect John Brooks, Calls on New York Democrats to Unite in Albany Against Trump

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 1, 2016

 

Press Contact:

Daniel Altschuler, 917-494-5922daltschuler@maketheroadaction.org

Make the Road Action Congratulates Senator-Elect John Brooks, Calls on New York Democrats to Unite in Albany Against Trump

Top immigrant advocacy group backed John Brooks and has helped lead charge against Trump agenda in New York

Long Island, NY — In response to the victory of John Brooks in the election for New York's State Senate District 8, Make the Road Action’s Co-Executive Director Javier H. Valdés issued the following statement on behalf of the organization’s thousands of Latino and immigrant members: 

“Make the Road Action members were proud to endorse and stand with John Brooks in his race for Senate, and we congratulate him today for his hard-fought victory. Following an election that featured anti-immigrant attacks from Republicans on Democratic Senate candidates across Long Island, we know that John Brooks will stand with our community. We look forward to working with him to defend the rights and needs of working-class families. 

“The Senate election on Long Island should mark a turning point for New York politics. We call on all 32 Democrats to stand together and assume the majority they have won in the State Senate. At a time when immigrant communities, Muslims, and communities of color are under attack by the incoming Trump administration, it is more important than ever for Democrats to work together to protect New Yorkers from Mr. Trump and the Senate Republicans that have copied his anti-immigrant playbook in recent months. We ask Governor Cuomo to work hard to restore a united Democratic majority to the Senate.”

Make the Road Action Co-Executive Directors Valdés and Deborah Axt published an opinion article this week in the Times Union laying out the case for Democratic unity, which can be read here (text copied below).

Make the Road Action builds political power rooted in working class Latino communities, promotes policy solutions that improve the lives of all New Yorkers, and strengthens the movement for justice through electoral and grassroots organizing to advance progressive political and policy change.

 

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Democratic unity key in days ahead

(Albany Times-Union: original article link here)
Published 4:38 pm, Monday, November 28, 2016

In moments of crisis, we must all stand together.

Donald Trump's victory is just such a crisis for New York. And given that New York Republicans have cast their lot with Mr. Trump's campaign of hate and intolerance, it is now up to Democrats in Albany to stand together to fight this looming menace.

Trump ran a campaign that vilified immigrants, Muslims and communities of color, among others. It started with his opening campaign rant describing Mexicans as "criminals" and "rapists," and it never slowed down. He also made the threat of defunding cities and states like New York that protect immigrants one of his signature campaign pledges.

Now, in the week following his election, he has shown that he intends to govern as he campaigned — nominating white nationalist Steve Bannonas his chief of staff and the most anti-immigrant member of the Senate, Jeff Sessions, as attorney general, signaling a willingness to force Muslims to join a federal registry and pledging to separate millions of immigrant families as one of his top priorities.

Make no mistake: New York will soon be under attack from the White House and the Republican-controlled Congress. With its long, proud history of embracing diversity and welcoming and protecting immigrants, the Empire State will fall quickly into the crosshairs of Trump and Bannon.

Republicans in New York will not help to defend our communities. During this campaign season, party leaders like Ed Cox and John Jay LaValle emerged as chief local boosters of Trump's campaign of hate. The GOP similarly mirrored Trump's campaign by relying heavily on anti-immigrant campaign materials in state Senate races on Long Island and in the Hudson Valley, and they have made depriving immigrant youth of access to higher education (by blocking the DREAM Act) one of their top priorities.

The only way forward for New York to offer a strong defense to Trump's reckless policies is for Democrats in Albany to come together. For years now, the Independent Democratic Conference, led by Sen. Jeff Klein, with Sen. Simcha Felder of Brooklyn, have caucused with Republicans in the state Senate instead of mainline Democrats. This must end. The IDC and Felder must now rejoin mainline Democrats to control the state Senate and advance a progressive future for our state that keeps all communities safe.

Working together, mainline Democrats, IDC Democrats, and Felder can achieve a great deal to protect immigrants. Already, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced executive measures to protect immigrants, including a public-private fund to support immigrant legal representation. This is a good start, but New York needs further policy changes — many of which will need passage through the Legislature. Among other things, they can pass legislation to keep all records indicating immigration status confidential, codify language access guarantees now provided through executive order into law, pass the DREAM Act, and expand health care coverage for immigrants. There is much work to be done, and precious little time before Trump, Bannon and Sessions begin the onslaught against communities in our state.

New Yorkers have protested continuously since Election Day — including 15,000 immigrants, Latinos, and allies on Nov. 13 — because we know that Trump's election constitutes a national crisis and a grave threat to our state. 

We need a united Democratic conference in Albany to face this danger together and secure a brighter future for immigrant New Yorkers and all of New York's working families.

Javier H. Valdés and Deborah Axt are the co-executive directors of Make the Road Action, an immigrant advocacy organization. On Twitter: @MakeTheRoadAct, @JavierHValdes, @DebAxt

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