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In a bid to argue against the upcoming gubernatorial recall election, Gov. Gavin Newsom proudly shared his pro-immigrant record this week with a crowd of working-class community members in the city of Santa Ana, to be highlighted by the Orange County State Senate. Democrats who, days earlier, had abruptly withdrawn their support for a popular immigrant bill that would limit the power of ICE in California – the VISION Act (AB 937 – Carrillo).
State Senators Josh Newman (SD-29) and Tom Umberg (SD-34) accompanied Newsom on his campaign rally over the holiday weekend, nodding solemnly as Newsom listed the many times he had taken a stand against Trump’s vitriolic attacks on immigrant communities.
“You look at the list of grievances on the petition. The number one grievance is immigration. The main grievance is that of immigrants. Grievance number one was our defense against everything about Trump and Trumpism, ”Governor Newsom said during his stop at Santa Ana’s Valley High School last Sunday.
Newsom spoke about the strong legislation that makes California a safe place for immigrants, and warned his audience that a Republican candidate could easily undo years of progress. Alongside their Democratic Senate colleague David Min (SD-37), however, Newman and Umberg are already undermining immigrant communities by turning their backs on popular Bill AB937 that would ban transfers from police services to the ICE. , although they have already supported the legislation.
Most disappointing of all is that Senator Newman has dropped his support for the bill, despite being one of the original co-authors of the VISION Act and stuck when it was passed by the State Assembly and two committees of the State Senate. It’s ironic, to say the least, that Newman and Umberg were present at Newsom’s pro-immigrant rally, where he warned of Republican threats to immigrant rights.
The Governor’s visit was strategic. He was leaning over his pro-immigrant case to argue against the recall in order to galvanize Latino voters who could make or break his chances of staying in power. Beside him were three senators from the Democratic OC State who abandoned their support for legislation that would end double punishment for immigrants who have served their sentence. This raises questions about the usefulness of having these senators present at a pro-immigrant rally. What was supposed to be a strong pull for a large demographic has turned into a sloppy irony.
If Senators Newman, Umberg and Min do not firmly support the VISION Act, not only will they turn their backs on their immigrant and refugee constituents who propelled them to power, they will undermine Governor Newsom’s strategy to rally communities. he needs it most to save him from recall. The Latino community, for example, is already frustrated and showing signs of withdrawing from this recall due to its lack of enthusiasm for Newsom and its inability to meaningfully connect with them.
Even more concerning is the fact that all three Democrats withdrew their support for the VISION Act after Chris Catren, vice president of the California Association of Chiefs of Police, issued a single misleading press release filled with racist whistles for dogs and anti-immigrant rhetoric to attack the bill. .
Then turning around a few days later and standing proud at a pro-immigrant rally is an insulting political misstep that hurts Newsom more than his Republican opposition. What does he say about the governor’s call to stand up to Republican threats, as his own party sides with Trumpian rhetoric from police departments who have historically opposed the types of pro-immigrant legislation including the governor? Newsom is supposed to be proud of?
To put the record straight, the chiefs of police press release is inaccurate about the Vision Act.
The VISION Act would ensure that immigrants and refugees are treated equally by the California criminal justice system, ensuring that those who have been released are not treated differently, simply because they do not. were not born in the United States and are subject to a double sentence by the ICE. . The bill does not affect who is eligible for release from prison or jail or their release date, nor does it interfere with parole supervision after release of a prisoner. member of the community.
The bill has the support of the California Democratic Party, the Latino Legislative Caucus, the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus, the Black Legislative Caucus and even the Orange County Democratic Party. Who do Senators Newman, Min and Umberg represent then, when they refuse to even vote alongside their own party?
The correlative immigration policy is important to residents of the cities of Santa Ana, Fullerton, Anaheim, and Garden Grove, where ICE raids and immigration enforcement are among the greatest threats to family stability and the strength of the nation. the community. On Tuesday morning, dozens of voters and members of the Irvine community in Buena Park gathered to call on Senator Newman to keep his original pledge to support the VISION Act outside of his Fullerton office.
It would be wise for Umberg, Newman and Min to reassess their commitments, and most importantly, their votes, if they seek to support Governor Newsom’s struggle to stay in power.
Tracy La is a resident of Santa Ana and Executive Director of VietRISE, a Garden Grove-based community organization that advances social justice for Vietnamese working-class and immigrant communities in Orange County.
Hairo Cortes is a resident of Santa Ana and executive director of Chispa, a political hotbed for Latinx youth in Orange County proudly standing up against the recall. An avid news reader and coffee drinker, you can find him spending his free time cooking and creating playlists.
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