The president in the past year has led vicious attacks against immigrants.
Border communities have been a special target for his administration, because we are ground zero for his favorite piece of mistaken policy (a border wall) and also because we are the most concentrated immigrant community in the United States.
We were heartened by La Unión del Pueblo Entero’s quick response last week to Congressional representatives Cuellar’s and Gonzalez’s votes in favor of a continuing resolution to fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) but not Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
We think their votes aligned them with the president’s plan to continue to persecute and marginalize the immigrant community.
The Equal Voice Network supports the Congressional Hispanic Caucus’ decision to reject continuing resolutions, and, indeed, a national budget, without reinstating DACA protections, and without dealing with other issues vital to our communities.
Among those issues: Funding our federally qualified health clinics, the medical home for so many of our children who have enjoyed the benefits of CHIP.
We therefore find it disingenuous that the Congressional representatives claim they supported the resolution in order to keep CHIP funded. If the RGV’s community clinics are crippled by the president’s budget and their funding runs out, how on earth will these children be able to benefit from CHIP?
We are particularly concerned that our congressional representatives want to join in a specious, federal effort to marginalize DACA candidates and recipients. These young people play a particularly important role in our community. They are our sons and daughters, neighbors and friends. They are soccer heroes and church fellows. They are a part of us and cannot be separated out as something that is not a part.
On the other hand, we commend U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela for taking the lead on protecting our entire border community, by refusing to bend to the undisguised threats of the federal government. We rest our hopes on the leadership of Rep. Vela and other members of the Hispanic Caucus.
Shutting down the federal government betrays the trust placed in our electeds. Pitting young people (CHIP) against young people (DACA) will not help resolve this crisis.
We look forward to Reps. Cuellar and Gonzalez reconsidering their positions in future, similar votes.