Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez issued the following statement today regarding the United States Supreme Court immigration ruling against President Obama’s executive order:
“We are a nation of immigrants. Our greatest national monument, the Statue of Liberty, is etched with the words: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” Today, those words are weighing heavily on my mind and heart.
“This morning the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling blocking President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration that would have provided more than 4 million immigrant families the opportunity to stay together and further contribute to the fabric of America. Millions of American immigrants will be forced to continue living in perpetual fear of deportation and the threat of losing everything they know: their loved ones, their careers and their families. In Seattle, 1 of 5 residents are foreign born and statewide it is estimated over 100,000 are undocumented. Today’s decision means that these Seattle families awoke today to news that our federal government has, once again, failed them. To these families, I say: Seattle will not fail you. This city is your home and you belong here.
“I am proud to chair the New Americans Committee on the Seattle City Council and to continue my advocacy on behalf of immigrants and refugees as an elected official. But, I am equally proud to be the child of parents who originally came to this country as undocumented immigrants from Mexico. I am at once the first person of Latino descent elected citywide in Seattle, the daughter of a mother who became a U.S. Citizen in 1996 and a father who adjusted his status and became a legal permanent resident. This is why the immigration struggle and movement is deeply personal to me.
“Our country’s highest court missed an opportunity to provide clarity and guidance for the nation, the sole service they are charged with. Instead, they have parted radically with the founding doctrine of our nation. We are the greatest nation on Earth only because we are a diverse group of people, banding together to make a dream work. Today’s deadlock is a setback for immigrant families.
“But the movement is far from over. I believe passionately in those words at the base of the Statue of Liberty. I know that you do too. The immigrant community is resilient, one of indomitable spirit and hope. Our unwavering commitment to American values of justice, respect, dignity and togetherness make us who we are.
“The movement for justice will not stop until every American can live with dignity, without fear of being separated from their families. For our opponents, this is purely political. They stand to lose nothing. But for immigrant families, it’s personal. We stand to lose our most cherished value: family unity. I know that justice will prevail because we will continue to demand it.
“This November is an opportunity for immigrant families to make their voices heard. Now is not the time to retract. Now is the time to double down. We must double down on helping eligible immigrants become U.S. citizens. We must double down on registering those immigrant U.S. citizens to vote. And, we must double down on turning out the vote of these New Americans. It is through civic engagement that immigrant families will make their voices heard in the other Washington.”