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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. ” – César Chávez, UFW

STATEMENT: Latino and Immigrant Rights Groups Slam Senators Sessions and Cruz's ”Fast Track" Amendments as Anti-Immigrant

May 15, 2015

Late last week, Senators Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Ted Cruz of Texas proposed amendments to the Trans Pacific Partnership bill that would prohibit fast-track procedures regarding the approval of trade deals from applying to any pacts containing immigration provisions.

In response, Presente.org, CHIRLA, FLIC and NALACC released the following statements:

"When you thought this legislation couldn’t get any worse, Senators Sessions and Cruz found a way by working anti-Latino and anti-immigrant amendments into it." Said Arturo Carmona, Executive Director of Presente.org. “It's almost funny that elected officials proposed amendments to limit immigration while working on trade deals with Mexico, Latin American and Asian nations, but it's true. Democratic Senators must reject these toxic amendments, because they will set a horrible precedent for our immigration laws at all costs. America is a nation of immigrants, and giving way to these type of Tea Party backed and xenophobic policies make an already horrible trade agreement worse by sending the wrong message about our values and principles as a nation.”

“Republican Party leaders seem intent on capturing every opportunity for pushing an anti-immigrant agenda,” stated Oscar Chacon, executive director at the National Alliance of Latin American and Caribbean Communities (NALACC). “A logical result of an ever more commercially and financially interdependent world is precisely a greater flow of people among nations bound by these links,” added Chacon. “Investor-state agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership are already detrimental to the well-being of most people. Layering an attack on immigrants onto this already misguided policy should be vehemently opposed,” concluded Chacon.

"Senators Sessions and Cruz have it wrong again,” said Maria Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC). “Their proposed amendments would only make a bad policy even more damaging for immigrants in Florida and across the US. Establishing restriction-ist immigration policies in a major trade deal is just a plain bad idea. And in terms of trade agreements like the TPP, we've seen the detrimental impact of NAFTA and CAFTA at home and abroad. Entire industries decimated and millions of workers displaced. Labor and environmental protections won't be fast-tracked, only corporate grievances will. We can't continue to have policies that socialize the cost and privatize profit; where capital has free reign and workers are criminalized. Our trade and economic policies should be responsive to the collective good of most families."

“If they are not blocking immigration reform policies that benefit our nation’s economy, Republicans are tripping over each other to introduce any poison legislation they can to try to hurt, deport, and criminalize our community,” responded Angelica Sales, Executive director of the Coalition for Humane Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA). "We disagree with the premise and content of the TPP but we object even more to the reckless use of leadership on hate mongering and anti-immigrant efforts by the GOP.”