In response to the Congressional proposals using the death of Kate Steinle to promote increased incarceration and criminalization of immigrants, groups from the #Not1More campaign release the following statements:
“Democrats and Republicans are following Donald Trump’s example to criminalize immigrants in ways that poison the public debate and result in more families separated. Hearings like the one today do nothing to advance public safety and everything to stoke racist fears against all immigrants. We will not be anyone’s scapegoat. Opportunists may see this as a tragedy they can hijack but their short-sightedness will be turned back. Safety won’t be found in proposals that put more of us behind bars or drive up mass incarceration rates. Safety is something we all desire and it won’t come from the vitriol on display in Congress.” – Tania Unzueta, #Not1More Campaign
“The hearings in Congress aren’t highlighting every story. The proposals being put forward would break apart more families like mine. My uncle was deported and torn away from us because of his criminal record even as he was turning his life around. I haven’t seen him for eight years. He was taken from his two children and partner who now struggle economically. Deportation and detention only separates families. My uncle needed support to face the addiction he developed after experiencing extreme abuse. As the US is moving to reform its criminal justice system, it is a paradox to promote more criminalization for immigrant communities. -Marcela Hernandes, Immigrant Youth Coalition, Los Angeles, CA.
“The tragedy of a family should never be used to promote racial hatred or to promote the separation of families. W e have witnessed how violence affects our families, we understand how painful it is to be separated from our loved ones. Instead of having a conversation about the relationship between gun violence, substance abuse, and lack of rehabilitation in the criminal justice system politicians have chosen to promote and exacerbate racist , xenophobic and anti-immigrant feelings. The only ones who would benefit from creating minimum sentences for crossing the border would be private detention centers that profit from detaining immigrants, without making any of our communities safer.” — Felipe Diosdado, Organized Communities Against Deportations, Chicago, IL
“We feel deeply for the loss of the family and hope others’ political opportunism hasn’t tarnished the families ability to grieve. Politicians are taking advantage of this tragedy and claiming that Kate’s Law will save daughters, mothers, fathers, and brothers, but in reality it fuels a venomous and violent racist culture and creates a climate where draconian legislation gets justified. As queer people in the South who are immigrants and come from immigrant families, we’ve seen this type of backlash and anti-immigrant hostility again and again. This law will not make our communities safer and white people will not be safer by criminalizing and targeting immigrants.” – Hermelinda Cortes, spokesperson for Southerners on New Ground
“Moments like these are when politicians like Sen. Feinstein show their true colors. Criminalization is not the solution and we will not allow it.” Jorge Torres, Unidad Latina en Acción New Jersey
“As undocumented immigrants, we refuse to be scapegoated. We won’t allow for victims to be used for another political anti-immigrant game. We stand with all victims of violence and with all those immigrants and communities of color that continue being criminalized to fulfill quotas and economic profits.” – Maru Mora Villalpando, Latino Advocacy, Seattle, WA