For Immediate Release // Please Excuse Cross Posting
Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Contact: Erik Villalobos,


Day Laborer Network Responds to Biden-Harris Campaign Appointment of Sergio Gonzales

(Los Angeles) Following the Biden-Harris 2024 Campaign’s appointment of Sergio Gonzales, current Executive Director of the Immigration Hub, as a new senior advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris’ team, Chris Newman made the following remarks on behalf of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON):

“In what appears to be more good news from the Biden-Harris re-election campaign,  it was announced today that an accomplished immigration-policy advocate, Sergio Gonzales, will advise Vice President Kamala Harris on strategy.

Gonzales  is executive director of The Immigration Hub, an organization that works to make America a place that “recognizes immigrants as intrinsic to our national identity and heritage.”  He will reportedly leave that job to join Harris on the campaign trail in early fall. But he doesn’t have to wait till then to help his new boss recognize the intrinsic worth of immigrants.

He can start right away and guide Harris to make up for the tone-deaf, counterproductive attitude toward immigrants she shamefully displayed on a trip to Guatemala in 2021. That’s when she told Guatemalans, “Do not come. Do not come,” and added, “”The United States will continue to enforce our laws and secure our border.”

The Biden-Harris Administration has always been a distressingly mixed bag on immigration. It has had too few clear and courageous policy victories and too many muddled concessions and defeatist retreats. After ousting the most nakedly nativist, White-supremacist administration in modern memory,  Joe Biden and  Kamala Harris had the opportunity and obligation to set the country on a better path.

But there has been too wide a gap between their  promises while campaigning and their actions while governing.   Too often the White House’s decisions on immigration have reflected warmed-over or thinly disguised Trump policies — following the tired old path of border militarization and alarmism. Too often the humanitarian emergency of migrants at the border has been dealt with mainly as a re-election problem. There have been too many politically expedient decisions made to avoid attacks by Fox News and others in the right-wing media.  There seem to have been too many strategic decisions to push hard challenges and vulnerable people out of sight.  Their new campaign message to immigrants appears to be:  “We may be bad, but Trump will be worse.”

The Biden-Harris campaign hardly lacks for talent and experience in immigrant rights and advocacy.

Its campaign manager is Julie Chavez Rodriguez, granddaughter of Cesar Chavez. With the addition of Sergio Gonzales, the campaign will have leaders who are steeped in the challenges of confronting — and overcoming — the xenophobia of these times.   And the White House has adopted some ideas that could be effective if —  and only if — it uses the bully pulpit and invests political capital to make them succeed.  One example is a program forged by Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that gives legal protection and work authorization to immigrant whistle-blowers who report workplace abuses. That kind of smart policy gives President Biden the chance to do for immigrant workers what President Obama did for Dreamers — but only if he is willing to go to the Rose Garden and promote and defend it to the world, the way Obama did for the DACA program, which improved the lives of so many young Dreamers. 

 Voters in immigrant communities will surely be hearing a lot from Vice President Harris in coming months — “Come to our side. Listen to our message. Go to the polls.”

Will those strategic pleas overcome the bitter taste of Harris’s earlier, also strategic “Do not come” message? Maybe. Maybe Harris will do what’s needed to establish herself as a bona fide defender of refugees and immigrant workers.  But we’re waiting to be convinced.”

– Chris Newman, NDLON General Counsel