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One of the largest immigrant rights groups in the country backs Sanders, noting his strong positions on immigrant justice, ending the school-to-prison pipeline, workers rights, and more
Reading, Pennsylvania (January 15, 2019) — Make the Road Action (MRA), one of the country’s leading grassroots organizations representing immigrants and working-class people of color, today announced its endorsement of Bernie Sanders for President of the United States. The announcement from the organization, which has tens of thousands of members across Connecticut, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, followed a months-long process that engaged members across the five states in candidate interviews and careful review of policy platforms in dozens of community workshops.
MRA members selected Bernie Sanders for his strong positions on creating a humane immigration system, including placing a moratorium on deportations and breaking up Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), protecting tenants through just cause eviction requirements and national rent control, standing up for workers’ rights and against the greed of corporations like Amazon, ending the school-prison-pipeline, ensuring a truly universal health care system, and more.
MRA members are planning a strong push to get out the vote for Sen. Sanders in each of their states, beginning in Nevada, an early caucus state where Latinx voters are expected to be especially important. On February 15th, the first day of early voting in Nevada, hundreds of MRA members will be joined by Bernie 2020 staff and volunteers as they lead a rally to demand respect and dignity for their communities, advocating for affordable housing and immigrants’ rights. The event will also include a march that will end outside of a major early polling site in a predominantly Latinx community.
“Our members are overjoyed to be able to support Bernie Sanders’ phenomenal candidacy, which reminds us every day that progressive values and issue priorities are both the right thing to do and the right way to beat Trump,” said Javier H. Valdés, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road Action. “We can and we must fight for a country where members of our communities are free to stay, free to move, and free to thrive. And we are proud to fight alongside Bernie Sanders to realize that vision.”
“It’s an honor to have the endorsement of Make the Road Action. They know that real change in our country happens when immigrant and working class communities stand up for justice and make their voices heard,” said Senator Bernie Sanders. “I’m proud to have their support, and I look forward to continuing to work with them to create a humane immigration system, to stand up for tenants’ and workers’ rights as we tackle corporate greed, and to stop the mass criminalization of Black and Brown people across this country.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has worked closely with MRA members, explained the importance of the endorsement: “Make the Road Action has been a powerhouse organizing for respect and dignity for all in my district and in dozens of other districts across the five states where its members live,” said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. “MRA members fight every day for justice for immigrants, for Black and Brown youth, for tenants, for workers, and for our trans and gender non-conforming siblings. Their spirit and tenacity will lend enormous strength to the diverse coalition to elect Bernie Sanders to be our next President.”
MRA members have been instrumental in critical progressive campaign victories across their five states. In 2018, the organization knocked on more than 255,000 doors in the general elections alone, helping to flip one US Senate seat, five US House seats (and hold two key seats), and two State Senate chambers, as well as helping to win three important gubernatorial races (visual with data here). In 2019, MRA members knocked on roughly 60,000 doors and were core partners in the historic campaign of Tiffany Caban for Queens District Attorney and helped elect progressive women of color to the Las Vegas (Olivia Diaz) and Philadelphia (Kendra Brooks) City Councils, as well as the first Latinx mayor of a City with at least 50,000 residents (Eddie Moran).
Members of Make the Road Action from across the organization’s state chapters explained further why they are excited to get out the vote in their communities for Bernie Sanders:
“We support Bernie Sanders because he will take away college students’ debt and raise the minimum wage,” said Francisca Mendez, member of Make the Road Action in Pennsylvania. “He has and will continue to raise issues that have been neglected for too long, while not being influenced by the one percent. After speaking with him and evaluating his platform, we know he truly wants to represent the people and put us first.”
“We support Bernie Sanders because his immigration platform will relieve some of the terror our families feel right now by implementing a moratorium on deportations, breaking up ICE and CBP, and providing a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people,” said Minerva Antigua, member of Make the Road Action in Connecticut. “Halting deportations will stop the current practice of separating parents from their children and provide piece of mind to the millions of families living and working in the US.”
“As immigrant and working-class communities of color like mine face continued attacks, we need a bold and powerful candidate to stop deportations, dismantle ICE and CBP, and transform our immigration system,” said Christian Chirino, member of Make the Road Action in New Jersey. “As a first-time voter, and a member of an immigrant family, I know Bernie Sanders is the champion our community needs and is helping to lead the movement that will help us defeat Trump in 2020.”
“Bernie Sanders has shown us for decades that he will stand up for workers and tenants and against corporate greed,” said David Vergara, member of Make the Road Action in New York. “With companies like Amazon doing major damage to the rights and well-being of workers and communities, it’s more important than ever that we have someone in the White House who will stand up for our rights and needs.”
“Bernie has a strong, proven track record of advocating disenfranchised people,” said Adam Berger, Make the Road Action in Nevada member and teacher. “Bernie believes that teaching should be one of the best paying, not among the worst jobs in the United States, and that all young people should have access to an excellent public education.”
Make the Road Action builds political power rooted in immigrant and working-class communities, promotes progressive policy solutions, and strengthens the movement for justice through electoral and grassroots organizing. On Twitter: @MaketheRoadAct
Information provided to TVL by:
Maegan Llerena, BSW
Make the Road Action in PA