SAN JUAN, TEXAS – The executive director of La Unión del Pueblo Entero will be glad to see the back of President Trump.

While Juanita Valdez-Cox is not pleased with the 45th president’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic and disgusted by his incitement of the Trump supporters who ransacked the nation’s Capitol two weeks ago, her anger is focused mostly on the administration’s immigration policy.

“The Rio Grande Valley was the epicenter of Trump’s four-year crusade against immigration. He has taken aim at us precisely because the border region represents what he and his most ardent followers fear the most: a strong, diverse community that extends a warm welcome and a helping hand,” Valdez-Cox said.

Juanita Valdez-Cox

The community leader’s comments came after her group hosted a rally against Trump. It was timed to coincide with the president’s visit to Alamo, Texas, to tout his success in building more miles of border walls.

“As he visits the Rio Grande Valley for the last time as president, we gladly say, ‘Good riddance, Trump,’” Valdez-Cox said.

“We do so by welcoming the racial justice movement that will hold Biden accountable. LUPE members are ready. We know that ‘Si Se Puede’ means we build the world we want, we don’t wait for elected officials or presidential administrations to give it to us.”

Among the speakers at the anti-Trump rally were Tannya Benavides and Melissa Cigarroa of the No Border Wall Coalition-Laredo, Roberto Lopez of the No Border Wall Coalition-Rio Grande Valley, Gabriela Zavala of Resource Center Matamoros, Felicia Rangel of The Sidewalk School in Matamoros, Ramona Casas of ARISE, Alexis Bay of the Texas Civil Rights Project, and former San Antonio mayor and U.S. Housing and Urban Development secretary Julian Castro. Castro was introduced by Valdez-Cox. The emcee was Danny Diaz, director of organizing for LUPE.

Valdez-Cox thanked Castro for attending the rally and expressed her disappointment that local elected officials were not present. Like the other speakers, Castro slammed Trump. Asked afterwards about the chances of the Biden administration passing comprehensive immigration reform, Castro told the Rio Grande Guardian:

“I have been pleased that Joe Biden is supportive of putting forward a significant legislative package on immigration within his first 100 days. That he is committed to changing administrative policies like Remain in Mexico and others that have been driven by bigotry on Trump’s part.”

Castro said it helps that Democrats control the White House, the House and the Senate.

“It definitely helps that we won the two Senate runoffs because now we have majority control in the Senate, with the voce of Vice President Harris. The fact that we have the House, the Senate and the presidency is important. It means, for immigration reform, that we as Democrats we can make that happen,” Castro said.

“And we need to make that happen. We need to make it happen for immigrants in this country who are working hard, who have helped propel our economy and kept things going during this pandemic. For all of those Dreamers who are making our country brighter and stronger. And, we need to do it or frankly the Democratic coalition is going to fall apart in the years to come.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows former HUD Secretary Julian Castro and La Unión del Pueblo Entero executive director Juanita Valdez-Cox. The photo was taken at a rally hosted by LUPE in San Juan on Jan. 12, 2021. (Photo: RGG/Steve Taylor)


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