SAN JUAN, RGV – Citing the election of Donald J. Trump as president, the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network is set to announce a “Texas Together” campaign to “reject policies of racism, division and hatred.”

A news conference will be held to launch the campaign in front of the mural at the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan in San Juan, starting at 1 p.m. on Tuesday. The campaign is part of a statewide effort led by the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance group. RITA is calling for the protection of dignity and rights for all Texans in the face of what it believes is an emerging xenophobic post-election America.

“The election of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States has created an immense sense of fear and uncertainty in our immigrant communities and in many communities across Texas. Therefore, Rio Grande Valley communities have joined with the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance (RITA) to protect the rights of immigrant families and work toward a Texas that provides for all people by upholding their dignity, rights, and lives,” says a news advisory from RGV Equal Voice.

The advisory says Texas has been and will continue to be ground zero for anti-immigrant, xenophobic rhetoric. By way of an example it lists the 2017 legislative priorities of Texas state leaders.

“Texas Governor Greg Abbot has already put some of anti-immigrant measures on his priority list for the next Texas Legislative Session that begins on January 2017. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick has been a long-time foe of the immigrant community and has been lining-up legislative measures that will endanger immigrants and their U.S.-citizen family members,” the advisory states.

Among the pieces of legislation that have been pre-filed, RGV Equal Voice says, are “an ‘anti-sanctuary cities’ proposal; a constitutional amendment denying bail to undocumented persons; requiring the use of E-Verify; and, an anti-Immigrant Omnibus bill that makes local governments liable for damages caused by undocumented persons, mandates the use of the Priority Enforcement Program, prohibits the use of the Matricula Consular, and, prohibits local policies from stopping immigration enforcement.”

Through Texas Together, RGV Equal Voice states, communities across Texas will campaign for a state that is “inclusive and values the contributions and integration of immigrant communities.”

RGV Equal Voice’s legislative agenda was outlined recently at a Legislative Forum co-hosted by the Rio Grande Guardian and Futuro RGV at Weslaco Public Library Auditorium. Speaking for the group, Ann Cass said RGV Equal Voice represents 50,000 families of limited means in the Valley. “We celebrate the vitality and strength of our immigrant communities,” Cass said. When it comes to immigration, Cass said the group has to operate in a “reactive mode rather than a proactive mode.” Cass said: “We will continue to support immigrant rights and refugee rights. We will be opposed to the state or federal government spending any more money to militarize the border, including another border wall.”

According to its mission statement, RITA serves to protect and advance the rights of immigrants in Texas. RGV Equal Voice Network is a member of the group. RITA works with allies in the business, religious and law enforcement sectors to advocate for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. It believes that it is through the active participation and engagement of immigrant communities in grassroots organizing that real and effective policy change can occur.