SIREN started the 2019 year in the immigrant and refugees rights movement with the federal government in a partial shutdown, where more than 800,000 federal workers were working without pay due to a failure between President Donald Trump and Congress to compromise over a useless and unnecessary border wall.
And on January 25, after 35 days of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, a budget continuing resolution was passed to open the government for another three weeks — without funding for the border wall.
From the resistance by members of Congress who refused to give in to Trump’s border demands, a major theme rang true — immigrant voters helped put Congress in a position to resist this discriminatory and racist wall.
For the November 2018 midterm elections, we saw record voter turnout among immigrants on the regional, state, and national level. Though SIREN doesn’t engage voters on behalf of candidates, we heard the frustration from voters in those districts where incumbent members of Congress lost.
Our volunteers made more than 80,000 phone calls to Congressional Districts 10 and 21, who were represented by Rep. Jeff Denham and Rep. David Valadao, respectively, this past election. The number one concern voiced by immigrant voters was how Congress wasn’t doing enough for immigrants.
From not protecting immigrant youth by failing to pass a clean DREAM Act to not pushing back against Trump’s draconian immigration executive orders, immigrant voters shared their disapproval for their members of Congress and their empty promises. As a result, the two incumbents lost their congressional seats this past November, along with other incumbents across the state and country.