For Immediate Release // Please Excuse Cross Posting
February 7, 2023
Media Contact: Erik Villalobos, firstname.lastname@example.org
Day Laborer Network Response to State of the Union Address
(Los Angeles) – In response to President Biden’s State of the Union address, Pablo Alvarado made the following remarks on behalf of NDLON:
“President Biden’s nostalgic calls tonight for a return to political normality and warm friendships across the aisle were jarring. Those are words for normal times, but these are not normal times.
Racist hatred and violence are on the rise. Pluralism, tolerance and democracy itself are under threat. The last president left the country weaker than he found it. His disciples are on the march. Advocates of political violence and fascism are walking the halls of the Capitol, wearing Congressional pins — and crudely jeering the President’s words.
We needed to hear President Biden speak out to defend those who have suffered most from the xenophobia and nativism stoked by his predecessor.
But in a speech about unity, Biden largely ignored a crucial issue — immigration — that has so deeply divided the country. In a speech about workers, he ignored the millions of immigrant workers who do many of the country’s most difficult, dangerous and essential jobs, supporting families and the larger economy without hope of legal status.
It has become a tradition to bury a parenthetical reference to immigration deep in the State of the Union address. To call for “comprehensive immigration reform” and then punt the job over to Congress.
Biden did that again tonight. He focused mainly on border security and fortress-building, not on building opportunity or hope for the millions stranded by unjust immigration laws.
“Finish the job,” he said, over and over. But who does he think gets the job done?
“Support the workers who are doing God’s work.” But who are these workers?
They include millions of immigrants who are living in jeopardy from the Republican-led campaign to isolate, exploit and scapegoat them.
Nostalgia is the only bipartisanship left. Biden wishes for a Congress that no longer exists, and Republicans in Congress are pushing hard to take this country back to a time when white men were the only ones entitled to liberty.
Donald Trump is out of office, but Trumpism is on the rise, and Biden’s craven silence tonight will only empower the xenophobes.
Biden has an obligation to reverse Trumpism and defend its victims. Congress has checked out of the immigration debate, and any hope of good-faith negotiations on immigration reform died long ago. The President must ignore the political consultant class and do the right thing. He must use his executive authority and reset the terms of the debate.” – Pablo Alvarado, Co-Executive Director