Sunday, March 12, 2017

Congressman seeks to go toe-to-toe against Trump's VOICE proposal

Rep. Jared Polis announced his new initiative on the positive contributions of immigrants.

DONALD TRUMP hit a raw nerve when he began attacking immigrants, refugees and the undocumented Americans.

From day one of his campaign for president he painted them as rapists, drug lords and "bad dudes."''

One congressional representative is trying to counter Trump's depiction of immigrants with a different narrative focusing on the good immigrants, including undocumented Americans, have done in this country.

“President Trump was wrong when he insinuated immigrants are a greater threat to public safety than American citizens," said Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo. on March 1. "This fear is misplaced and perpetuated by ‘alternative facts’ or lies." 

Trump is trying to turn his negative depiction of immigrants into official U.S. policy with his proposal to create VOICE, Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement,

"I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims," Trump said in his address to the Joint Session of Congress. 
VOICE's job will be to work with victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.

In establishing the office as called for in Trump's Jan. 25 executive order, DHS Secretary John Kelly ordered the reallocation of any department resources currently going to advocating for undocumented immigrants that can be re-routed to fund the office.

"In actuality, immigrants are much less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States," said Polis. The truth is that hard working immigrants help vitalize our economy at home and bolster our global competitiveness. We are strongest as a nation, when we embrace our diversity."

Polis announced that he is planning to start the Saved by American Immigrants National Taskforce or “SAINT” to collect stories of immigrants - both documented and undocumented - who have positively contributed to U.S. society through heroic or lifesaving acts. There are many Americans who are alive today only because of the heroic acts of immigrants who saved their lives. 

Watch the complete announcement here.

According to census data gathered between 1980 and 2010, noncitizens between 18 to 49 years of age were one-half to one-fifth less likely to be in prison for a crime.

Furthermore, a recent study released by the University of California-San Diego, clearly found that immigrant-friendly communities are both safer and more economically vibrant.

During his announcement, Polis cited three examples which produced positive outcomes because of undocumented Americans:

There's the story of Antonio Diaz Chacon, an undocumented immigrant who saved a 6-year-old girl from a child abductor in 2011. In 2007, Jesus Manuel Cordova was crossing the Mexico/U.S. border when he found and saved a 9-year-old boy lost alone in the desert. Also in 2007, Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, an undocumented immigrant living in Baltimore, became a world-renowned brain surgeon.

Polis' ultimate goal, as he's made clear over the past several years, is to find a comprehensive immigration reform program that works for all Americans, regardless of where they were born.

Listening to Trump's address to the Joint Session of Congress was Oscar Juarez-Luna, a guest of Rep. Polis.  Juarez-Luna received a two-year permit to avoid deportation under DACA, which provides the reprieve for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

"I'm undocumented and unafraid," Juarez-Luna said at a press conference after Trump's speech.

"Donald Trump needs to see the diversity, needs to see the policies that directly impact our communities and we want to show the face of the immigration system that is broken and that is outdated and needs to be fixed."